We promote transparent, environmentally sensitive grid development
Our newsletter features stories about RGI activities, political discussions about the electricity grids and news from our partners

RGI News

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March 2017
The headline that could be given to RGI’s first months in 2017 would definitely have the word ‘learning’ in it. We have engaged in trainings and discussions on such complex issues as the future of the electricity system, the Commission’s Regional Operational Centers (ROCs) proposal and the design and purpose of a future European interconnection target. We have also written down what we learned during our 2016 learning journey to America under the banner of ‘Energy Regions in Transition’ und published the outcomes of a longer educational journey in the form of the results of the EU-funded project INSPIRE-Grid on stakeholder engagement.

Find out about these and many other stories, including exciting news from our partners, in this newsletter.

In this issue

1. RGI activities

‘Energy Regions in Transition’: Report on September 2016 tour to US now online – Plus: Upcoming trip to China

A very regular exchange with the energy community in California in particular and the United States overall led to RGI creating its work stream ‘Energy Regions in Transition’ in 2015. It aims at bringing together energy experts from countries that are currently going through or preparing for an energy transition. Under this banner, RGI organised a learning journey to America for the second time in 2016, this time with an agenda spanning both New York and California, the leading states of the American energy transition. A report detailing the discussions we had with the New York Public Service Commission, ConEdison, National Grid, the Nature Conservancy, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, CAISO, Tesla and many others, is now available on our website. Click here download it and find out more ‘Energy Regions in Transition’.

Under the same banner we will also organise a one-week tour to China later this year. The country is moving fast in curbing its use of fossil fuels, reducing dependency on energy imports and investing in innovative energy technology. Look for more info on this endeavour in our upcoming newsletters and on our website.

Learning about market design ROCs and the interconnections target

RGI always tries to look beyond its core work streams and engage in discussions from the broader field of energy. In this context, we organised a day of learning and discussions in Brussels on February 28th. During this day the Secretariat and invited guests from the network partook in a market design training kindly offered by the Florence School of Regulation, discussed the Commission’s Regional Operational Centers (ROCs) proposition and looked at the interconnection target discussion from various national points of view.

While we learned about the difference between loop flows and transit flows as well as upwards and downwards balancing products during a highly interactive and stimulating training in the morning, the afternoon discussion rounds showed that many more discussions are needed before stakeholders and decisions makers find common ground with regard to the ROCs and a future interconnection target. TSOs are highly critical of the ROCs proposition. They confirm that the third energy package, that includes the network codes and the establishment of Regional Security Service Providers, is not fully implemented yet and perceive that under this setting it is too early to fix existing shortcomings with a new legislative initiative. During the interconnection target session, representatives from various energy/climate/economy ministries from across Europe presented their position. While everyone was generally in favour of interconnection and sees it as essential for the development of the internal energy market, many open questions remain. They include such basic ones as whether a target is the most efficient way to speed up interconnection and what the purpose behind it should be.
If your are interested in more information on the discussions of the day, please contact the RGI Secretariat directly.

Future scenario workshop discusses electricity system studies by Amprion, RTE and ADEME

On the 28th of February RGI hosted the second "Future Scenario Exchange Workshop" in Brussels, with Amprion, RTE and ADEME presenting their studies on the future of the electricity system. The workshop was attended by a mixed group of 27 stakeholders representing TSOs, NGOs and independent research organisations. Special interest was paid to the potential impact of sector coupling, understanding how cross border flows and dependencies can be accurately represented and if the potential exists to integrate spatial planning and acceptance issues into future scenario development and modelling exercises.

This event was part of RGI's "Grid Needs for Renewables" work stream that looks to jointly define what the new HV grid requirements will be in a renewable energy future. The presentations and minutes of the workshop will be made available on the RGI website shortly. Keep an eye out for the third workshop in this series, which will take place in the summer.

Find out more about our future scenario work stream here.

Multidisciplinary EU project INSPIRE-Grid on stakeholder engagement successfully concluded

For the past three and a half years, RGI has been part of the project INSPIRE-Grid, which was funded under the 7th European Research Framework Programme (FP7). It brought together a very diverse group of experts from different fields. The international team included scientists from various disciplines (engineering, social science, psychology), and practitioners from TSOs. While this set-up was equally challenging and rewarding, it led to a number of very valuable, science-based recommendations for different actors involved in grid development projects, which are available in different formats on the INSPIRE-Grid website:
  • Synthesis and recommendations: report that summarises the main findings and recommendations of the project in a detailed way;
  • Brochure: gives an overview of different project activities for a non-technical audience;
  • Policy briefs: main recommendations of the project for TSOs, authorities and policymakers in a condensed format.
Find out more about the project and download the final publications here: www.inspire-grid.eu

The RGI Secretariat welcomes Matilde Doni

RGI is very happy to announce that Matilde Doni joined the Secretariat as a new member of staff in March. She is taking on the position of Personal Assistant to our CEO Antonella Battaglini. Matilde studied at the Berlin School of Economics and Law where, at the end of 2016, she earned a Master's degree in International Economics. Prior to RGI, Matilde interned at the Carbon Disclosure Project. She is with us full time and is reachable via email (matilde@renewables-grid.eu) and phone (+49 30 7677 1945 31).

2. Discussing the electricity grid

Ecofys: A North Sea grid could significantly help in reaching EU climate and energy goals

The North Sea grid could significantly boost Europe’s renewables development, Ecofys says. The energy and climate consultancy recently published a White Paper that foresees the North Sea delivering more than 15% of the neighbouring countries' total electricity demand by 2030. According to the paper a “concise but full-spectrum approach to North Sea energy infrastructure” could not only make substantial contributions to reaching the European renewables energy and climate goals, but also bring about new jobs and even additional protected areas for marine biodiversity. In this context the paper also reviews barriers and how to overcome them.

Download the paper from the Ecofys website for more information.

German think tank Agora Energiewende publishes market design study

German think tank Agora Energiewende published a study on establishing regional smart markets in Germany. The study is a response to the €900 million cost associated with so-called redispatch and feed-in management in Germany in 2015. To overcome bottlenecks that will rather increase than decrease in the near future, Agora looks at flexibility options such as power-to-heat, storage and load management and explores different models of designing a smarter market that does not have to rely on renewables curtailment anymore.

Download the study (in German) here.

Red Eléctrica de España and CENER collaborate on the promotion of innovation for a sustainable energy future

The Chairman of Red Eléctrica de España, José Folgado, and the Vice President for Economic Development of the Government of Navarra, Manu Ayerdi, as President of the National Centre for Renewable Energies (CENER), have signed a collaboration agreement to promote joint actions in the field of innovation for the development of a sustainable energy future.

Through the signing of this four-year agreement, a relationship framework has between Red Eléctrica and CENER been established to promote joint actions in the field of innovation for the integration of renewables, energy storage, energy efficiency as well as smart grids and smart cities. The collaboration between both entities includes the creation of a mixed committee for the assessment and monitoring of the projects that will be formalised through specific agreements.

The National Renewable Energy Centre (CENER-CIEMAT Foundation) conducts applied research in renewable energies and provides technological support to companies and energy institutions at an international level in six areas of work: wind, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic, biomass, efficiency and generation in buildings and urban planning, and electricity integration into the grid.

EirGrid wins top award for plain English

EirGrid has won the top Plain English Award for its guide to developing the electricity grid. The organisers said the company’s “Have Your Say” document was the overall winner because it explains clearly how energy customers can have their 'say' in how EirGrid consults with the public and other stakeholders about developing the electricity grid. It tells the public what it can expect from EirGrid, and clarifies what EirGrid would like from the public to make the best possible decisions around EirGrid projects.

Rosemary Steen, EirGrid External Affairs Director, said: “At EirGrid we recognise the importance of communicating in a clear and understandable way. Our work can be quite technical and complex at times; however we are committed to producing high-quality, accessible publications.”

EirGrid sought to improve the way it consults and communicates with the public following a review of its public consultation process in 2014. As a result, “Have Your Say” was developed.

The aim of the Plain English Awards is to reward organisations that communicate clearly in plain English. Over fifty organisations entered the competition, run by the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), by submitting documents that they thought were outstanding examples of plain English. An independent panel of plain English experts judged entries and decided on the winners in eight separate categories, as well as an overall winner. The awards ceremony took place in The Law Society of Ireland on Thursday 9th February 2017.

EirGrid’s winning entry can be viewed here.

TenneT reaches milestone: SuedLink and SuedOstLink submitted applications for Federal Sectoral Planning

SuedLink and SuedOstLink, the main DC lines ensuring Germany’s Energiewende success, submitted the first formal applications for Federal Sectoral planning to the Federal Network Agency, and paved the way for the formal approval procedure. Initially planned as overhead lines, public protest led to legal changes at the end of 2015 requiring lines like SuedLink and SuedOstLink to be realized underground. This meant rethinking the whole planning and communication process from scratch.

Within only ten months, the project teams developed new corridors for underground cables. In addition, all communication materials have been revised and adjusted to the new planning premises. To ensure maximum transparency, TenneT and the project partners published all planning data as soon as the corridor proposals were available. During a comprehensive participation phase with around 70 information events, the project teams collected more than 8.500 comments on the two projects’ corridor proposals. The gained local knowledge was included into the planning processes and the formal applications to find corridor routes that limit impact on humans and the environment. Such an early comprehensive participation in such a tight timeframe has never been seen before in a German grid project.

SuedOstLink on tour: 50Hertz mobile citizen office informs locals on handed in federal sectoral planning application

The current planning for the SuedOstLink is topic  of a 50Hertz information tour. The TSO visits marketplaces and pedestrian areas of towns in the planning area with a mobile dialogue centre to present the proposed as well as alternating route corridors for the planned high-voltage direct current connection.

The 50Hertz team also shows the residents how during corridor planning, the feedback from the preceding early public participation campaign were taken into account. During this campaign, 50Hertz received a total of 665 valuable hints and tips. Based on these, nine adjustments were made to the existing route corridor segments, and two more segments were added.

The corridors proposed are a key part of the federal sectoral planning application, which 50Hertz submitted to the Federal Network Agency last week. The SuedOstLink will connect Wolmirstedt in Saxony-Anhalt with Isar near Landshut in Bavaria.

You can find more information at www.50Hertz.com/SuedOstLink.

4. Good Practice Corner

“History of Electricity“ by Litgrid

The Lithuanian transmission operator Litgrid created an educational website dedicated to explaining the grid and the history of electricity in Lithuania to the general public.

  • Present the history of the electric system in Lithuania in a comprehensible manner and on a centralised website
  • Provide the public with readily available educational material
  • Create enthusiasm and motivation regarding the profession of electrical engineering
The electricity sector is complex and difficult to understand for those not directly involved. For this reason, Litgrid created an educational website dedicated to the history of electricity in honour of the 70th anniversary of the Lithuanian power system. The website displays the development of electricity in Lithuania, how it is produced and delivered to consumers, how power flows are managed and what the role of the transmission system operator is. The story is based on clear examples, expressive visuals and simple games. The user is encouraged to take part in the story as the website is interactive.
The practice provides a full picture of the country’s electric system, including power generation from traditional resources as well as from renewable energy plants, transmission and distribution networks and the consumers. Especially because community engagement is a crucial part of every grid development project, the website aims to increase public awareness of the power system in general and grid in particular, and to engage society by providing information on why the power system is so relevant and how it works in detail.

Visit the "History of Electricity" website.

5. Event announcements



InnoGrid2020+ looks at innovation in electricity networks. The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) and the European Distribution System Operators for Smart Grids (EDSO) will focus this sixth edition on the arising network of networks, where power grids and transport, telecom and IT, digital and physical link up in an unprecedented manner. Special attention will be devoted to the rapidly evolving transmission-distribution interface.

Are the electricity and transport networks sufficiently integrated? Which hard and soft technologies can enable a smart and sustainable energy system? Which regulation is needed? Will the active customer paradigm and active system management become a reality? What would that mean for networks integration and for the TSOs-DSOs interface?  What’s the role of data hubs and what are the European rules related to cybersecurity and privacy? These and many other key questions will be on the agenda.

Solar & Wind Integration Workshops: Call for Papers open until 11 May

The Solar & Wind Integration Workshops are designed to provide a platform for consulting companies, universities, wind turbine manufacturers, TSOs/DSOs, independent R&D organisations, utilities, energy providers, and PV/CSP system developers to exchange technical and economic developments in the area of large-scale integration of solar and wind power into power systems. The idea is to facilitate the discussion between industry and academic participants by having presentations on research work as well as on practical experience and demonstration projects.

Submit your abstract for the Solar & Wind Integration Workshop by 11 May 2017. For proposed preferential topics and further details on the Call for Papers visit:
http://solarintegrationworkshop.org/  &  http://windintegrationworkshop.org/

This year the solar and wind integration workshops are complemented by an E-Mobility Power System Integration Symposium to discuss the challenges that arise with increased power demand due to electric vehicle charging, and how they can be met by coordinating with renewable power production in the electrical.

About us

The Renewables Grid Initiative is a unique collaboration of NGOs and TSOs from across Europe. We promote transparent, environmentally sensitive grid development to enable the further steady growth of renewable energy and the energy transition. RGI members originate from a variety of European countries, consisting of TSOs from Belgium (Elia), France (RTE), Germany (50Hertz, Amprion and TenneT), Ireland (EirGrid), Italy (Terna), the Netherlands (TenneT), Spain (Red Eléctrica de España), Switzerland (Swissgrid) and Norway (Statnett); and NGOs WWF International, BirdLife Europe, Fundación Renovables, Germanwatch, Legambiente, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe and Natuur&Milieu. RGI was launched in July 2009.
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