“DSOs are moving from passive distributors to active managers and energy transition’s enablers.”
Paula Pinho, European Commission
On 17 November 2023, DSO Entity hosted its first Annual Event in a time of “European Grid momentum” with distribution grids in the spotlight as European DSOs see their role as key participants of the energy transition grow. The event triggered fruitful exchanges and brought to life the manifold realities of European DSOs, as depicted in DSO Entity’s paper: ‘DSOs fit for 55: Challenges, practices and lessons learnt on connecting renewables to the grid’.
“The challenges presented in this paper must be tackled as a whole. From now to 2030, we, as E.ON, need to connect a new customer to the grid every seven seconds.”
Johan Mornstam, DSO Entity Vice-President
Our paper, central to the panel discussion, offers a comprehensive overview of DSOs obligations in the Fit for 55 package and REPowerEU. It addresses the key challenges in connecting renewables to the grid and provides insightful practices to overcome them, as highlighted by speakers from the European Commission, SolarPower Europe, CEER, and DSO Entity. Three takeaways surfaced during the morning of conversations.
“The national perspectives shared in the Grid Connection Paper provide both experiences of DSOs practices and a better insight on what we can do.”
Veli-Pekka Saajo, CEER
First, the EU’s net zero targets, and the necessary framework to work towards them are in place. The focus should now turn towards the implementation phase, and the support needed by DSOs through the hurdles they still face. The practices provided by our members in this paper offer ways of resolution, as best practices and knowledge that could be shared and adopted by European DSOs. As underlined during the panel exchanges, cooperation with customers, regulators, and among DSOs themselves remains essential to optimize the efficient use of the grid and ensure the quicker connection of renewables to the network.
“The upcoming EU Grid Action Plan to be proposed by the European Commission should address flexibility and focus on a decentralised grid.”
Walburga Hemetsberger, SolarPower Europe
Second, attracting investment capital to support new technologies and business models is crucial for the development and modernisation of the grid. Future initiatives, such as the upcoming Action Plan to facilitate the roll-out of grids, must allow for decentralised and flexible grids to be the “motorways” needed to reach the EU objectives, to quote Paula Pinho. Along with flexibility, digitalisation also plays a central role to build more resilient grids and strengthen the relation between DSOs and their customers.
‘‘Customers, indeed, have always been close to the heart of DSOs and the relation with them has always been the hallmark of our work.”
Vincenzo Ranieri, DSO Entity President
Lastly, it was stressed that the moment for action is now. DSOs must commit as proactive participants of the new decentralised energy system, to enable the European turn towards a decarbonised continent, and empower costumers. And to conclude on words that stayed close to every mind during the event:
“There is no green future for Europe without an upgraded power grid.”
Kadri Simson, European Commission
The recording of our Annual Event is available at the following link (using the passcode: B66EEZ^%). The recording also include the video keynote speech sent by Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.