Joint letter – Call from the economy to the grid: the new highways of Europe

ACEA, and six other European organisations, have called on the European Commission for a more coordinated response to the radical and rapid change in the power infrastructure needs.

The EU economy is moving towards electrification across systems and sectors, from energy to industry, transport, heating and cooling, or the built environment. Markets for electric vehicles (cars, vans, trucks, and buses), heat pumps (residential and industrial) and the renewables that will power them, are growing at an unprecedented pace. Cleantech is becoming the bedrock of Europe’s economy.

Transmission and distribution-level grids are the glue of these new energy systems and the backbone of the EU’s global economic and technological competitiveness. Without appropriate grid infrastructure, grid optimisation, or harmonised rules on grid access fit for the new energy landscape, there is no functioning market or investment attractiveness.

This makes the electricity grid the backbone of the Single Market and pillar of the EU industrial policy – as important as highways or digital infrastructure.

Despite some progress in the last years, the signatories call for improved European electricity grid infrastructure. Law makers should consider the following actions:

  1. there are important funding needs for grid development and modernisation, including smart grids;
  2. governments should incentivise regulators to modernise grid connection and grid planning exercises, including by allowing regulatory innovations;
  3. in the spirit of the High-Level Forum on Standardisation, a real, common block of grid connection rules and grid certification processes should be established in the EU, building on a further harmonisation of existing electricity network codes and leveraging the strength of standards; and
  4. Investments into the grid, including active grid management, should be politically supported and sped up significantly.
Despite some progress in the last years, more needs to be done to improve the European electricity grid infrastructure.
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