Conference: Energy & Solidarity – Putting the Plan for Grids into Action

At RGI’s 15th Anniversary Conference on 16 April 2024 in Brussels, we discussed how Europe’s grid can be built timely, following nature-positive principles, and in solidarity with local communities and between European countries.

Since its foundation in 2009, RGI has been promoting pathways for Europe to build the necessary grid and renewable infrastructure for the energy transition protecting nature, restoring biodiversity, and creating meaningful involvement of local communities.

Now, with the Action Plan for Grids, these aspects are as relevant as ever and increasingly interlinked. Our conference therefore brought these elements together while focusing on solidarity and cooperation in times when polarisation is growing bigger every day.

Why Energy & Solidarity?

As a basic value of the European Union, solidarity is key for decarbonisation considering the energy challenges that European countries face cannot be solved unilaterally.

Decision-making must be fair and just, especially for the wildlife and communities that are most affected by infrastructure build-up. It seems a difficult task, but strategies exist to harness the positive environmental, social, and economic benefits of the energy transition, including:

  • #Innovation4Solidarity – Creating technological and market innovation that allow for affordable energy for consumers and new approaches towards grid expansion, optimisation, and digitalisation
  • #SolidarityWithNature – Contributing to biodiversity targets and nature-positive solutions
  • #SolidarityWithPeople – Involving affected communities in decision-making processes, and creating long-term local benefits for them.

Throughout our Anniversary Conference, we showcased collaborative efforts to create an interconnected energy network that enhances reliability, reduces dependency on fossil fuels, and promotes equitable access to renewable energy across Europe.

After all, to ensure a brighter tomorrow, we need #Solidarity4Grids! Check out the agenda below and stay tuned for event updates.


Energy&Solidarity Conference: Presentation

Read through the key takeaways from the Conference


Check out all the photos on RGI's Flickr!


12:30 | Registration and Lunch

14:00 | Welcome and Setting the Scene

Antonella Battaglini

Renewables Grid Initiative

Stephanie Bätjer

Director - Communication,
Renewables Grid Initiative

A European grid built on solidarity


The big picture: European solidarity in a world of scarcity


Tinne Van der Straeten 

Belgian Minister of Energy


Electricity grids for a competitive and just Europe



Gerard Reid

Co-founder and Partner,
Alexa Capital



Moderator: Antonella Battaglini

Chief Executive Officer, Renewables Grid Initiative


Gerard Reid

Co-founder and Partner, Alexa Capital

Catherine Vandenborre 

Chief Executive Officer a.i., Elia Group

Patrick Ten Brink

Secretary General, European Environmental Bureau

Volker Wendt

Secretary General, Europacable

Giles Dickson

CEO, WindEurope

15:50 | Coffee break

Centring people and nature within the Action Plan for Grids


Collaborations for a nature-positive electricity system:

How can linear infrastructure contribute to nature-positive targets



Stewart Maginnis

Deputy Director General
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)



Moderator: Rachel Asante

Senior Program Coordinator - Climate Change, IUCN

Humberto Delgado Rosa

Director for Biodiversity, DG Environment | European Commission

Cristina Simioli

Director - Offshore Energy & Nature, RGI

Ariel Brunner

Regional Director, BirdLife Europe & Central Asia

Lisa Garnier

Grid & Biodiversity R&D Expert, RTE France

Damjan Međimorec

Executive Office Associate Director, HOPS


A people-centred energy transition: Implementing the Pact for Engagement



Paul Kenny

Policy Advisor to Minister Eamon Ryan
Irish Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Communications



Moderator: Andrzej Ceglarz

Director - Energy Systems, Renewables Grid Initiative

Catharina Sikow-Magny

Director for Green Transition & Energy System Integration
DG Energy | European Commission

Alan Croes

Convenor System Design Strategy, ENTSO-E

Andrea Wainer

Knowledge  & Data - Sustainability, REN21

Peter Vermaat

Secretary General, EU DSO Entity

Sinead Dooley

Head of Public Engagement, EirGrid

18:20 | 15 Years of RGI – The Power of Collaboration

Antonella Battaglini

Renewables Grid Initiative


Olivier Feix

Corporate Development

Christoph Bals

Policy Director

Ben Voorhorst

Former COO

Stephan Singer

Senior Global Specialist: Climate Science and Energy
CAN International

19:00 | Dinner and Celebration


Nathália Pimentel
Manager - Communication

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Stephanie Bätjer
Director - Communication

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t: +49 30 2332 11017

RGI gratefully acknowledges the EU LIFE funding support:

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the LIFE Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.