Grid operators and NGOs call on global decision makers to commit to renewables and a strong climate deal in Paris in RGI joint statement

RGI publishes statement on “Electricity grids for renewables – for a safe global climate”

Today, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI), a unique coalition of NGOs and electricity grid operators (TSOs), issued the statement “Electricity grids for renewables – for a safe global climate”. RGI calls on global decision makers to commit to phase out fossil fuel emissions globally by 2050 and to move towards energy systems largely based on renewable energy, to prevent dangerous climate change.

Our CEO and partners appraise the statement:

Antonella Battaglini, CEO of RGI:

“This statement shows that an increasing share of the industry community supports a courageous climate deal at COP21. It is a good example of how compromises between different parties can be found. We hope that this signal will help to trigger the right investments and new solutions applicable not only in Europe, but worldwide.”

Boris Schucht, CEO of 50Hertz:

“I am proud to serve a TSO which has proven in the recent years that the transformation into a renewables-dominated world is possible. We will further push the limits while developing our electricity grids, market processes and our system control activities.”

Angelo Caserta, Regional Director, Global Director for Strategy, BirdLife Europe:

“With this statement to leaders at COP21, the grid operators and NGOs in RGI have shown the way forward to a safe climate for tomorrow’s wildlife and people - build public support for the energy transition by minimising local environmental impacts, and give investors confidence through strong political commitment to cutting emissions and maintaining a clear and stable legal framework for nature protection.”

Yves Zumwald, CEO a.i. of Swissgrid:

"The path to a decarbonised energy system requires a strong commitment to invest in power transportation and storage infrastructures in order to integrate renewable production and guarantee continued security of supply. The future grid will guide this paradigm shift and shall be built in a sustainable way and with as little impact on nature and society as possible. We are committed to lead this transition, to ensure the highest level of transparency, with public involvement in every step of the grid planning process."

Full statement "Electricity grids for renewables - for a safe global climate"

The Renewables Grid Initiative is a unique alliance of electricity transmission system operators (TSOs) and NGOs. We call on global decision makers to:

  1. Commit at the COP 21 to phase out fossil fuel emissions globally by 2050 and to move towards energy systems largely based on renewable energy, to prevent dangerous climate change.
  2. Put this commitment into action by building political and public support for grid investments that are needed to secure the multiple benefits of global renewable energy expansion.

Renewable investments are taking off around the world, contributing to efforts to combat climate change. The shift towards a renewable power system will reverberate across the whole electricity value chain.

Electricity grids are important enablers of the energy transition. Where appropriate, significant investment in new and upgraded grid infrastructure are required to connect new renewable generation to consumers, ensuring balance between supply and demand in a cost effective way. Grid development is the backbone for ensuring a secure, affordable and sustainable power system for the future.

For a successful energy transition around the world the following are important:

  1. The need for political commitment: Despite potentials for energy efficiency and savings, large investments are needed to satisfy energy demand, to guarantee energy security and to decarbonise at the same time: investors and stakeholders need more certainty about the direction of travel. World governments need to agree at COP21 to decarbonisation of the global economy by 2050 accompanied by commitments and effective measures to cut emissions, to give investors and citizens clear direction and confidence.
  2. The need for political and public support: Investments in grid infrastructure are often exposed to costly delays due to political and regulatory uncertainty and local public opposition. More political and public support can be achieved through a package of measures:
    • Ensure a stable and investment-friendly climate for renewable energy sources and the related necessary grid development. Clear and stable permitting rules and procedures for grid development and environmental protection are therefore essential pre-requisites. There shouldn’t beany contradiction between building grid infrastructure and protecting nature.
    • Impacts on nature and the environment must be minimised –green corridors beneath overhead lines can even have positive impacts on biodiversity. Such developments will contribute to rising public acceptability.
    • Efforts must be stepped up to meet the public and stakeholders’ demands for greater transparency and opportunities to participate in the grid planning process. The regulatory framework should support measures to avoid impacts on the environment, involve citizens and enhance public support.

This statement is supported by 50Hertz, BirdLife Europe, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Elia, Fundación Renovables, Germanwatch, Legambiente, Natuur&Milieu, REE, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), RTE,Swissgrid, TenneT, Terna and WWF International.


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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.