50% Renewables by 2030: Creating a flexible power system to ensure EU’s renewable ambition becomes a reality

Today in Europe, renewable sources of energy meet 30% of electricity needs. The binding renewable energy target for the EU by 2030 is to deliver at least 50% of its electricity consumption from renewable sources of electricity.

Given the EU’s ambition, the electricity system will undergo a significant transformational change over the next decade. The share of renewable energy sources from electricity (RES-E), in particular from wind and solar, must increase dramatically. We will see almost a doubling of such sources of electricity, which are by nature variable and intermittent. In addition, there are several other key factors impacting power system operation that will need to be addressed. These include:

1. RES-E will be generated in a much more diverse, decentralised and distributed manner.
2. We will see changes to system demand and the electrification of transport, heat and cooling.
3. Technology advancement is creating greater consumer participation and choice in how energy needs are met and managed.

Such factors will lead to a more complex environment presenting new challenges for power system operation. This increasingly complex environment will require a flexible and responsive system that is more dynamic, while remaining secure, reliable, resilient, stable and cost effective for citizens.

On behalf of the EU-SysFlex consortium, a Horizon 2020 project aimed at addressing the future power system operational challenges for Europe, EURACTIV organised this high-level Stakeholder event to discuss the future EU power system and how a higher share of renewables can be integrated. Questions included:

  • What are the main power system operation challenges associated with decarbonisation and a transition towards a system with over 50% renewables?
  • What are the long-term needs as well as the technical scarcities of the future power system?
  • What practical assistance can be provided to power system operators across Europe? Where are the innovations?
  • Which improvements can be made to European market design, regulation, operational practices and enhanced system tools?
  • How can increased cooperation between TSO and DSO support the efficient provision of system services for the future?

    Disclaimer: The EU-SysFlex project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773505.

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