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Eurelectric’s new Presidency presents its vision for Europe’s clean energy independence

Leonhard Birnbaum, CEO of E.ON, has taken the reins of Eurelectric, the trade body representing the European electricity industry in Brussels. Joined by Vice Presidents Markus Rauramo, CEO of Fortum and Georgios Stassis, CEO of PPC, the new Presidency makes a strong call to put in place the necessary enablers for a radical ramp-up of electrification, at a time when Europe needs to accelerate its decarbonisation and ensure its energy sovereignty.

Strengthening electricity grids, rethinking Europe’s security of supply and ensuring proper investment conditions will be their three key priorities. A top priority is the expansion and digitalisation of the electricity infrastructure. By 2030, 50 per cent of Europe’s low voltage lines will be over 40 years old, well past the midpoint of their lifespan and will have to manage considerable amounts of renewables, heat pumps and electric vehicles. Connecting an additional 650 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 remains an unthinkable challenge without a modernised, resilient grid and flexible clean power.

“The big transformation of our economy and society happens in the power grids,” said Mr Birnbaum. “We must urgently prioritise the growth and digitalisation of our infrastructure to enable consumers to reap the benefits of their own flexibility and ensure access to clean, reliable electricity. Policymakers and regulators need to supercharge the green agenda and support electrification. Simple cost control is no longer an option and Eurelectric will be carrying this message loud and clear in Brussels and beyond.”

Beyond getting the right infrastructure in place, more frequent cyber-attacks, military threats and extreme weather events call on the EU to rethink its security of supply in coordination with its industrial and external policy.

“Political and industry leaders must now act decisively to defend the EU’s industrial competitiveness without delaying its decarbonisation, nor weakening the integrated energy market with disruptive intra-EU subsidies races,” said Vice President, Markus Rauramo. “The decarbonisation of the heavy industry requires the availability of reliable and 24/7 clean energy at large scale.”

To ensure reliable supply, high shares of domestic renewables should be complemented by expanded grid infrastructure, firm low-carbon generation and flexible assets including storage and consumer-driven demand side response. Achieving these developments is only possible with a solid investment framework that fairly distributes the risks and benefits between investors, consumers and – where needed – the State.

“The power sector is at the forefront of the unfolding energy transformation and there are two challenges lying ahead: scale and pace,” continued Vice President, Georgios Stassis. “To deliver reliable and affordable electricity to consumers while achieving our climate goals, we need a resilient electricity market structure that spurs investments and reduces the risk of future price spikes.”

Eurelectric’s new Presidency team will continue to foster broad consensus within the industry, seek common ground with our consumers of all sizes and engage in structured dialogue with policymakers. To back up its vision, the new Presidency will initiate state-of-the-art research in the areas of grid and security of supply to inform the debate and support policymakers in their quest to meet new challenges.

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