In October 2011, the European Commission put forward a draft law making it easier to build and finance cross-border power lines, which are essential to making Europe’s energy system greener. The coalition of grid operators and civil society organisations supports Europe’s ambition to boost renewable electricity and cut carbon emissions.
The joint declaration aims to strengthen the coalition of stakeholders supporting grid expansion to integrate renewables and raise public awareness of this need. It also lays the ground for cooperation on specific pilot projects to develop best practice and improve the implementation of grid development in line with nature conservation objectives. The coalition also pledges to encourage transparency and address public acceptance.
Grid operators commit to helping meet Europe’s objectives to protect nature, for example by ensuring that risks to birds from power lines are minimised. At the same time, the NGOs commit to supporting crucial grid development for the integration of renewables from larger centralised and smaller localised generation sources.
Renewables Grid Initiative Executive Director Antonella Battaglini: "This declaration shows that Europe's energy and environmental commitments don't need to be in conflict - we can build grids fast for renewables and also protect nature. We need new alliances across society to acknowledge the challenges and to find acceptable solutions. We invite the Commission to use this declaration as a first building block for European guidelines on grid expansion and nature protection."
Signed in December 2012 at the 2nd European Grid Confrence, the second part of the European Grid Declaration on Transparency and Public Participation states the willingness of RGI members to better inform and involve concerned stakeholders and the broader public about grid extension plans and projects. It was presented to the European Commissioner for Energy Günther H. Oettinger and to the European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik at the event.
Building on the principles of the European Grid Declaration, it is absolutely crucial to enhance and to stimulate the use of “better practices” in designing, planning, and communicating grid modernisation projects. To foster a swifter implementation of successfully proven concepts, RGI launched the European Grid Report “Beyond Public Opposition – Lessons Learned across Europe.” The report provides a comprehensive overview of ongoing activities and relevant experiences that have been gathered in seven countries across Europe.
In March 2014, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) presented the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) with an official statement of support for the European Grid Declaration. The document also emphasises CAISO’s appreciation for the work of RGI and highlights the multiple similarities between the two organisations.