Europe must transform its energy systems, and the context they operate within, in order to meet ambitious economic and environmental goals as well as consumer expectations. In his keynote address (watch video) at European Utility Week, Dr. Jan Mrosik, CEO of Siemens Smart Grid, explored the issues and opportunities of this transformation.
Mrosik noted three forces driving the evolution of energy in Europe -- and that these must be carefully balanced, since they pose some inherent conflicts:
- Sustainability. The current focus of sustainable energy in Europe is meeting EU targets for curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and beyond. Mrosik noted the currentEU consultation for developing energy targets for 2030.
- Security of supply. Renewable resources can provide considerable energy, but levels fluctuate. "We've seen a strong increase in grid interventions over the last several years," Mrosik noted. Smart grid technologies can help grid operators compensate for the effects of intermittent renewables, increasing reliability.
- Economic efficiency. In many European nations, renewable energy resources currently drive up the cost per kWh.
Mrosik envisions a revamped EU regulatory and market design that balances all three of these factors. This would include:
- An EU-wide approach for marketing reserve power and capacity.
- An EU-wide demand-side management strategy for managing reserve power.
- A more balanced reconfiguration of capital vs. operating expenditures for regulated tariff components related to smart grid projects, which would make it easier to implement smart grid technology.
- More regulatory incentives for smart grid rollouts.
- Improved return on investment for smart grid projects, to support viable business models.
"Smart grids are a key part of Europe's energy transition," said Mrosik, noting that the Siemens Smart Grid Suite is one integrated technological solution to provide end-to-end management of smart grids.
"Now is the time to act," said Mrosik. "The technologies that are required are already here. We have to start somewhere. A smart grid is the result of a continuous development of the grid according to the business requirements in a specific country, with specific regulatory scheme, at a specific utility. To build a smart grid, we must successively introduce technologies into the grid. It's not one big bang that will eradicate or replace everything. It's a gradual development."
Read more at Siemens Smart Grid Watch!