In Belgium, electricity transmission system operator, Elia Group, and Ghent-based Vlerick Business School have created a Chair to study the changing energy landscape and develop future scenarios for power grids.
The appointed Chair - Leonardo Meeus, professor in energy markets at Vlerick Business School and a professor at the Florence School of Regulation - is tasked with creating case studies for educational purposes, conducting an in-depth annual study and organising an annual study day.
Energy sector faces enormous changes
Professor Meeus commented on the need for such a position: “The energy sector in general, and the electricity transmission business in particular, faces more challenges in the next 10 years than in the last 100.
“The impact of renewable energy sources is enormous, and the sector is seeing a change in product mix, a new relationship between generators, suppliers and consumers and also a renewed role for system operators.”
Insights from Meeus’ research into the future of transmission system operators will be shared with Elia Group management and staff, European politicians and other European stakeholders.
Energy research centre
The Elia Group and Vlerick Business School have already collaborated on the Vlerick Energy Centre, a research institute developing scenarios based on key trends and uncertainties for transmission system operators and distribution system operators .
The ‘game changers’ for the transmission system sector have been outlined in a recent white paper written by experts from both the transmission system operator and the Vlerick Energy Centre.
They include technology, organisational changes, regulation and new unexpected market players.
The Elia Group states that the industry needs to see the winds of innovation blow harder through the electricity market, for just as it has experienced many changes in the last decade, so the actions and decisions taken in the next 10 years will be crucial.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Elia Group and a supporter of the Chair, underscores the importance of alliances in this area: “Co-operation at a European level is more necessary than ever.
“Everyone ultimately wants the same thing: to maintain security of supply, continue to tackle climate change and integrate renewables, give financial guarantees to investors, while involving consumers and offering them a choice.
This Chair will provide the Elia Group with insights into how we can address these challenges at a European level.”
With a transmission grid comprising 18,300 km of high-voltage connections serving 30 million consumers, the Elia Group is one of Europe’s largest five transmission system operators.
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