Whilst good practices in the field of energy and grid development are abundant (just see our work on Best Practices) an in depth understanding of these sometimes proves elusive, and thus they sometimes remain abstract concepts. To address this, RGI organises a series of open access webinars - designed to give a 'deep dive' into certain best practices - presented by relevant field experts, in order to bring diverse participants up close and personal with those driving the energy transition.

As well as serving as an interesting educational tool in a specific topic, these webinars also provide the opportunity to ask questions, exchange with others and to continue co-operation into the future.

Grids for Life - Innovative approaches to Vegetation Management from the Iberian Peninsula

Grid operators must manage vegetation beneath power lines to ensure system security. Taking an integrated, ecological approach to vegetation management (IVM) can have diverse benefits for people, nature, and the energy transition itself. For example:

  • Native vegetation can provide valuable habitats for local biodiversity
  • Grid corridors can reconnect fragmented ecosystems at scale
  • Partnerships can provide new opportunities for rural actors
  • Less intensive intervention can reduce costs for grid operators in the long term
  • More ecological management and public engagement can boost acceptance of infrastructure

So, how does this look in practice? Our webinar from October 2022 invited Xavier Munill, Professor of Ecology of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB); Pedro Marques, Vegetation Management Coordinator of Portuguese TSO, Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN) and Liam Innis, RGI's Manager - Energy Ecosystems, to discuss innovative practices in vegetation management around the grid from Portugal and Spain.

Shared Airspace - Innovative Approaches for a Bird-friendly Electricity Grid

Be it a row of swallows along a power line or a watchful raptor atop a pylon, interactions between birds and the grid are a familiar sight. Unfortunately, this relationship is not always peaceful. Indeed, without proper planning or mitigation measures, collision and electrocution with power lines can pose a real threat to some avian species.

In the second event in RGI’s Energy & Nature webinar series, we heard from experts working at the intersection of energy and nature and learn about some innovative approaches to making the electricity grid truly bird-friendly. Speakers included: Eric Neuling, Bird Conservation Officer at Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany (NABU), Dominique Verbelen, Scientific Officer for Birds and Amphibians at Natuurpunt, and Liam Innis, Manager - Energy Ecosystems at RGI.


Nature Networks - How can the electricity grid help to restore fragmented ecosystems?

Vegetation management is a core activity in infrastructure maintenance. By carrying out this necessary intervention with nature in mind, via a process known as Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM), grid operators have a unique opportunity to restore natural networks and enhance biodiversity. 

To kick-off our Energy & Nature webinar series, we invited experts at the intersection of energy infrastructure & biodiversity to discuss the potential of grid corridors to reconnect nature’s networks & enhance biodiversity.  The speakers were Dr. Miguel Ferrer (CSIC); Jean-François Godeau (Ecofirst - LIFE-Elia-RTE project)  & Michael Wahl, E.ON/WestNetz.

Best Practice Webinar: Matching generation and consumption in a smart renewables-based system

Figuring out how to match generation and consumption when solar and wind-based renewables dominate the system is one of the most discussed questions of the energy transition. Real-world lab project ‘SoLAR Allensbach’ has developed a solution based on intelligent sector-coupling that was presented during RGI’s best practice webinar ‘Matching generation & consumption in a smart renewables-based system’.

SoLAR Allensbach was also our winner of the 'Technological Innovation & System Integration' category of our 2021 edition of the 'Good Practice of the Year' award. We invited Stefan Werner, Solution Manager at Easy Smart Grid, who is the project coordinator behind ‘SoLAR Allensbach’, to present their approach and answer questions.

Best Practice Webinar & Study Launch: Offshore Biodiversity Data and Monitoring - What have we yet to learn?

In this best practice webinar we launched the RGI commissioned study "A Review of Biodiversity Data Needs and Monitoring Protocols for the Offshore Wind Energy Sector in the Baltic Sea and North Sea". Author Dr. PJ Stephenson presented his key recommendations and findings connected to potential impacts of offshore wind development on marine biodiversity.

The key takeaway from the webinar was that the harmonisation of data, indicators and monitoring protocols as well as more dialogue, exchange of lessons learned and collaboration among key stakeholders will enhance data-based decision making and help reduce the impacts of the offshore wind energy sector on marine biodiversity.

Best Practice Webinar: The Site Wind Right map – pooling data for optimal spatial planning, with The Nature Conservancy

In this best practice webinar we took a deep dive into spatial planning and the opportunities of pooling relevant data with the people behind the award-winning Site Wind Right map.

Site Wind Right was created by the global NGO ‘The Nature Conservancy’ (TNC) to help accelerate the deployment of wind energy in a way that helps people and nature thrive. The interactive online map uses GIS technology and pulls from more than 100 data sets on wind resources, wildlife habitat, current land use and infrastructure to help inform siting decisions across 17 states in the Central United States.

Powerlines & Birds: Experiences from electricity companies in the Mediterranean - BirdLife Middle East with Terna, RSCN and EETC

This webinar was organised by BirdLife Middle East with a view to shine a light on some of the initiatives taken by grid operators and civil society organisations in the Mediterranean region.

In this 2-hour webinar, inputs were given by Italian TSO, Terna, into their radar monitoring, nesting boxes, mitigation, staff trainings & open data approach; Jordanian nature organisation, The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), on their work mitigating the danger of wind turbines & powerlines in the Great Rift Valley - which won them our Good Practice of the Year Award 2020; and the Egyptian TSO EETC, on their initiatives to protect migratory birds in the region. 

Best Practice Webinar: Green Electricity Corridors - A lifeline for people and nature, with Ecofirst, Elia and RTE

‘Green Electricity Corridors’ refer to the space underneath overhead powerlines which, with proper management, can benefit local biodiversity and society.  Such management, known as Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM), involves grid operators working within partnerships to create strategically-planned networks of natural and semi-natural areas, which protect vulnerable species, deliver important ecosystem services, benefit local populations and is far cheaper in the long run in terms of maintenance. 

In this best practice webinar, RGI gave the stage to some of the actors at the forefront of IVM implementation in Europe: Ecofirst, Elia and RTE.


Reducing the risk of bird collisions with high-voltage power lines in Belgium - Collaboration between Elia, Natuurpunt & Natagora

Combining the most recent knowledge on bird distribution, Belgian NGOs Natagora and Natuurpunt, together with national TSO, Elia, created a map to quantify the risk of bird collision with power lines for the whole of Belgium, enabling estimations of collision risk anywhere in the country.

In this webinar, Dominique Verbelen from Flemish NGO, Natuurpunt, presents the development of the practice.

Elering’s e-Gridmap - How can digitalisation optimise investment planning of new RES generation & grid integration?

Making the best possible investment plan that coherently combines renewables generation and related grid needs is one the big challenges of today’s energy system. Estonian TSO Elering has developed a tool that tackles this problem: the e-Gridmap.

Our webinar with Elering, took a dive into their digital tool for simplifying investments in renewable energy. In the webinar, we heard from a colleague from Elering and held an open Q&A session.

Nature inclusive design of offshore infrastructure - How can we design offshore systems to safeguard healthy marine ecosystems?

Our webinar, “Nature inclusive design of offshore infrastructure” was moderated by Johanna Meier, Manager - Energy Ecosystems (RGI), with presentations by and discussions with two practitioners closely involved in the search for solutions to ensure that healthy marine ecosystems are safeguarded in all offshore infrastructure development: Annemiek Hermans, Biological Oceanographer and Marine Environmental Project Manager, TenneT and Eline van Onselen, Marine Biologist, De Rijke Noordzee.

Fridays for Future / RGI / NABU Collaborative Webinar (in German): The Energy Transition and the Electricity Grid - Perspectives from Germany and Europe, May 2020

The webinar was moderated by Fridays for Future and had input by Antonella Battaglini, CEO (Renewables Grid Initiative) and Verena Bax, EU Energy and Climate Policy Officer (NABU). They discussed the changing development of the transmission grid in order to incorporate increasing shares of RES to reach decarbonisation, regulatory and environmental aspects of development. Furthermore, they discussed the need for collaboration, interconnectivity, fairness and local value and the balance between large and small scale RES infrastructure.

RGI / Fridays for Future Collaborative Webinar (in German): 100% Renewables - How can that work? Technical and political perspectives on the energy transition, March 2020

The webinar was moderated by Fridays for Future and featured input by colleagues from two RGI Members - Niels Ehlers, Head of Concept and System Strategy (50Hertz) and Kai Bergmann, Advisor - German Low-Carbon Policy (Germanwatch). They respectively discussed the technical and political viability of a 100% renewables-based energy system in Germany.

CAN Europe: The Ten Year Network Development Plans

In this presentation, Jörg Mühlenhoff from the Climate Action Network Europe gave explanations on the processes of the TYNDP scenarios, the technology assumptions made therein and the different scenarios contructed.

European Environmental Bureau: The Role of Gas in the TYNDP Scenario

In this presentation, Jonathan Bonadio, Policy Officer for Renewables, Climate and Grids at EEB gave the context on the role of gas in Europe's current energy mix and its forecasted role under the current TYNDP scenarios, as well as discussion the importance of system integration for building an alternative to gas.

NGO Campaigner Training: 'Of Pipes & Pylons - Is Europe planning energy infrastructure for a Paris Agreement compatible future?', March 2020

Is Europe planning energy infrastructure for a Paris-compatible future? This webinar session for NGOs examines the recently published energy scenarios of the Ten Year Network Development Plan 2020 (TYNDP). These scenarios form the basis of European energy infrastructure strategy for the coming decades by making assumptions on a whole range of variables relating to generation, management and consumption patterns in a number of potential future energy scenarios.

The advantages of electrification for decarbonisation - with Saul Griffith, Founder and Chief Scientist at Otherlab, December 2019

What advantages will high shares of renewables-based electrification bring for society, the climate and the economy? Saul Griffith, founder and chief scientist at Otherlab shares his thought-provoking ideas on modelling, efficiency, old narratives and the grid.

Otherlab - a US-based research and development firm - works on renewable and clean energy, robotics, automation, digital fabrication, adaptive textiles, advanced manufacturing, computational design tools and more. In 2017, they were charged with modelling an ultra-high resolution picture of the US energy economy. The results showed that "electrifying the US economy from carbon-free sources will reduce the amount of energy needed by more than half."

Digitisation in the electricity sector: Behind the buzzword, October 2019

How is digitisation in the electricity sector developing and how it can help enable our transition to a decarbonised electricity system? With presentations from those working practically with the technology on the ground, this session aims to give an overview of digitisation and 'get behind the buzzwords'.

WiseGRID: Wide scale demonstration of Integrated Solutions for European SmartGrid

In this presentation, Stamatia Gkiala Fikari, member of one WiseGRID pilot site team took us on a whistle-stop tour of the project. She explained the goals of the project and its practical implementation in Greece, Belgium, Spain and Italy.

RGI: Digitisation - A systemic view

In this presentation, Holger Loew, Senior Manager - Energy Systems at RGI gave a systemic view of digitisation in the energy system, including characteristics, risks and solutions, and asking the crucial question of how digitisation can be implemented for a sustainable enery transition.

Route planning for new power transmission lines - together with Swissgrid and ETH Zürich, August 2019

The energy transition brings renewable power to our households, which in turn, requires new power transmission lines. However, through where should they pass? Which factors should be taken into account? Where does the data come from?

RGI and ENTSO-E have teamed up again to bring you a best practice webinar on planning tools. The 3D Decision Support System (3D DSS), developed by ETH Zürich uses new, exact approaches to determine the optimal path for new overhead lines and underground cables. The stakeholders themselves define the goals they want to achieve and the lands they want to protect, so that a consensus solution can be found.

Funding programmes and community funds - together with EirGrid, November 2018

In this webinar EirGrid presents their 'Community Fund' and 'DS3 System Services' approaches, both of which have sustainable funding programmes at their core that are aimed at sensibly speeding up essential grid projects.

We also hear from public acceptance expert Prof. Patrick Devine-Wright, who has evaluated the 'Community Fund' programme and come up with suggestions on how to further improve it.

WiseGRID webinar - together with WiseGRID and ENTSO-E, November 2017

This webinar serves as a deep dive into WiseGRID's approaches to wide scale demonstration of integrated solutions and business models for the European smart grid.

The WiseGRID project provides a set of solutions, technologies and business models which increase the smartness, stability and security of an open, consumer-centric European energy grid and provide cleaner and more affordable energy for European citizens.

Compensation and osprey webinar - together with Réseau de Transport d'Electricité, April 2017

This webinar, which was run together with French TSO and RGI Member, RTE, focusses on best practices regarding compensation and bird protection, as examples of how more socially and environmentally friendly grid development can practically increase the acceptability of power lines.

One approach is concerned with the offsetting the negative impacts that lines can have and either respond to that impact directly or create new or additional value to those impacted by the line. RTE has tested both these courses of action successfully in the form of an extensive campaign to protect ospreys and a crowd funding approach that closely involved citizens in the decision of how a grid project should be compensated.


Stephanie Bätjer
Programme Manager – Communication

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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.