The role of grids in a renewables-based electricity system

With the objective of a largely decarbonised power sector by 2050 and its decision on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies, the European Union has set the stage for a significant increase in the use of renewable energy. Thanks to the Paris Agreement and its 1.5°target, the transition to a carbon-free electricity system is today a global policy ambition. A modernisation of the energy grid is a key requirement in this context and acknowledged not only by TSOs and many major NGOs, but also by some citizens that are directly affected by grid development projects. 

This does however not prevent widespread doubts with respect to the necessity of specific grid line projects. Often, NGOs and affected people are unified in asking for proofs that confirm the need of individual grid projects. Why, where and when are new lines needed, who benefits from them and who is losing? 

How can long-term energy roadmaps and network development be designed in such a way that they become an unequivocal building block towards a decarbonised European energy sector? And how can affected communities understand the necessity of concrete projects as part of the bigger picture of a decarbonised European energy sector? These are fundamental questions that need to be addressed by all actors in order to get the support for a common development of the future grid system. 

For RGI’s work, these questions are fundamental. We address them in discussions on European level on how to improve the TYNDP procedures via our project 'Paris Agreement compatible scenarios for energy infrastructure (PAC), at national level via the projects 'Shaping the Grid debate/Debatte Stromnetze gestalten' and 'Working together to work better/Lavorare insieme per lavorare meglio' and also with our best practice project, which includes good examples during the need determination. 


Dr. Andrzej Ceglarz
Director - Energy Systems

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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.