While EU lawmakers are picking over proposals intended to drag Europe’s electricity sector into a 21st century dominated by intermittent renewable power and decentralised generation, others are already contemplating ways in which new digital technologies might shake things up even more.
Industry groups representing sectors as varied as wind and solar power, fuel cell batteries, copper and heat pumps, have clubbed together to launch the Electrification Alliance, with the hope that electricity will be recognised as the main energy carrier in Europe’s decarbonisation drive.
Electric vehicles could revolutionise Europe’s electricity system, but an outmoded network regulation could hamper progress, according to Laszlo Varro, chief economist at the International Energy Agency.
The emergence of household batteries, along with small-scale solar photovoltaic and plug-in electric cars, is slated to transform electricity storage, according to a new state-of-the-art report by European science academies. But experts claim storage is not actually fundamentally needed.
Cutting wasteful energy use in buildings is at the centre of EU efforts to decarbonise its economy and reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports. However, there is still vast untapped potential in modernising heating, cooling and ventilation equipment known as technical building systems, research has shown.
As Europe’s electricity system undergoes a major transformation, consumers may be expected to change some of their habits. But this will only happen if consumers have something to gain from these changes and they are given a proper choice, says Monique Goyens.
In just over a decade, we will be able to build a new electricity system around renewable energy that is cleaner, produces almost no carbon emissions, costs less than a system built around natural gas, and is just as reliable, writes David Nelson.
Although formal negotiations over a market design proposal are just beginning, a conference involving industry leaders and senior policymakers this week showed which way the winds of change are blowing in the electricity sector as the need to integrate intermittent wind and solar power increases.
The European Commission's Winter Package of Energy Union laws will be a turning point for clean energy, writes Maroš Šefčovič. But the spirit of the package goes further than clean energy or tackling climate change – it’s also about economic transformation, he argues.
The Energy Union is an unparalleled opportunity for the EU to boost energy its efficiency, cut imports and create consumers money. To achieve this, we must unlock the potential of smart systems and embrace digitalisation, writes Anton Koller.