Honouring innovative approaches in grid development: RGI reveals the 3 winners of the 2015 "Good Practice of the Year” award

The winners of the Renewables Grid Initiative’s 2015 “Good Practice of the Year” award received their trophies at the second annual award ceremony in Brussels today. The jury decided to honour practices focussing on the creation of green corridors under electricity grid lines (by LIFE Elia), a stakeholder advisory council (by EirGrid) and a pulse-heating concept (by ESCSH).

In 2015, the “Good Practice of the Year” jury has decided to honour the projects “Creating Green Corridors” by the LIFE Elia project for their efforts in “Environmental Protection”, the „Pulse heating“ by the Energy Supply Organisation of the Cooperative Society in Hjortshoej, Denmark (ESCSH), for their achievements in “Technology & Design” and Irish grid operator EirGrid’s “DS3 Advisory Council” in the “Communication & Participation” category. Jury members Marie Donnelly (Director of Directorate C at DG Energy) and Baard Eilertsen (Founder of energy advisory company Truebase) congratulated the winners at the ceremony that took place at the Théâtre de Vaudeville in Brussels.
The first award of the evening went to the “Creating Green Corridors” project by LIFE Elia. The jury was most impressed by the project searching for “ways of increasing biodiversity rather than just seeking to maintain the status quo”. The jury rewarded that the approach  is “both concrete and applicable on a larger scale”. The aim of the project is to successfully practice biodiversity-friendly vegetation management under high-voltage grid lines by relying on a multi-partner approach.
The jury’s favourite practice from among the submitted “Communication & Participation” practices was EirGrid’s “DS3 Advisory Council”. The winning practice in this category was complimented by the jury as it “really meant jumping into cold water for EirGrid, discussing difficult topics and interacting with people who might not necessarily share one’s own views”. EirGrid’s DS3 programme focuses on the future of the Irish electricity system and is regularly being advised on the way forward and on the implementation of next steps by the Council representing a wide range of stakeholders.
And finally, the jury honoured the “Pulse Heating” project by ESCSH in the “Technology & Design” category. “It’s a comprehensive approach with benefits at multiple levels – connecting energy across almost all its manifestations”, they explain their choice. ESCSH has in fact developed a district heating system using both pulse heat and solar panels in order to reduce heat losses in supply pipes and supply low-energy houses in an energy efficient way.
The aim of the “Good Practice of the Year” competition is to disseminate the many good practices out there and give them the recognition they deserve as well as to inspire future action and innovative thinking. The award builds upon a European-wide best practice exchange that RGI started in 2012. Since then, RGI has been collecting cases on how to make grid development more transparent, participative and increasingly environmentally sound, so as to contribute to social acceptability and the timely implementation of needed projects.

The 16 best cases of the 2015 competition can be viewed in a brochure illustrating the top award contenders. It can be downloaded below. Apart from the winners it includes commendable practices from grid operators 50Hertz, Mavir, EVN, RTE, Statnett, REE and TenneT, NGOs Germanwatch and NABU, infrastructure service provider Avacon, renewable energy association APERe and German network agency BNetzA.  

We thank the international audit and advisory company MAZARS for accompanying the process and our incredible jury for the time and expertise they contributed.

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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.