'The power sector accounted for 24% of global emissions in 2002 and could be responsible for 14.26 GtCO2e (gigatonnes or billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) in 2020.
The potential for ICT to reduce carbon emissions through Smart Grid technology could be substantial – some 2.03 GtCO2e by 2020' (SMART 2020 study, GeSI). The 'smart' modernization of Energy Grids in Europe is not only a key element to realize the European Internal Energy Market but also for enhanced competitiveness, the integration of renewables, increased energy efficiency, emission reduction and most importantly for consumer empowerment. However, the EU has no legislation in force to oblige Member States to invest in Smart Grid technologies. Implementation today is very heterogeneous and smart incentives for investment in the grid are missing. It seems that present market forces are not enough to deploy the Smart Grids.
The EU has a non-binding energy efficiency target of 20% by 2020 and the Commission just published a roadmap towards a low carbon economy in 2050. 2011 is a crucial year for Smart Grids: Commissioner Oettinger works on a proposal for the end of this year to support the implementation of Smart Grids in Europe and the 'Smart Grids Task Force' should deliver its final report in May.
How can we create an internal market for Smart Grids services and prevent diverging national approaches? How can European consumers fully benefit from Smart Grids? How can we create sufficient incentives for private investment in Smart Grids? How can we leverage best practices for the rollout of Smart Grids throughout Europe? And what should be the key elements of an EU legislative framework for Smart Grids? Many open questions that give plenty of room for discussion at this upcoming EIF dinner.
Catherine Trautmann, MEP and EIF Governor
Prof. Ronnie Belmans, Chairman European Technology Platform (ETP) Smart Grids, Professor at the Electric Energy Division of the Electrical Engineering Department at the University in Leuven
‘The Potential of Smart Grids for Europe, risks and opportunities’
Manuel Sanchez, DG Energy, Unit B2 Electricity & Gas
‘European Commission strategy for Smart Grids in Europe. Status and outlook’
Luis Neves, Chairman of GeSI (the Global eSustainability Initiative), VP for Corporate Responsability at Deutsche Telekom
‘The role of the ICT sector for Sustainability in general and in particular for the development of Smart Grids’