European DSOs set out strategic grid investment agenda

European DSOs set out strategic grid investment agenda

The European DSO association E.DSO has set out key pledges for the future grid with a call for grid investments to be high on the EU agenda.

In a new document, E.DSO states that a “forward-looking understanding of the needed investments and necessary reforms to the current reference legislative and regulatory frameworks” is needed as part of the “bold action” towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

E.DSO members account for a very significant part of the current and future investments in European power grids.

But the role of DSOs is constantly evolving and will soon become almost extremely complex, requiring radical change in the way they function and operate with the rapid growth with the massive influx of renewables, change in customer behaviours and rapid electrification.

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With time of the essence, significant leaps are required rather than piecemeal steps and must begin by empowering the distribution networks, where over 85% of the renewables will be connected.

E.DSO sets out four key pledges for the future grid, with the aim “to inspire policymakers, industry stakeholders and customers to prioritise grid modernisation, enabling a sustainable future for Europe”.

  1. The role of the DSOs must not be overlooked, as they have been relatively until now primarily from an industrial perspective rather than solely from a regulatory standpoint.

E.DSO advocates for the establishment of regular dialogue between policymakers and the leading DSOs to enable a continuous exchange of ideas and expertise to inform policy decisions and ensure alignment with the real needs of the distribution grid, as well as inclusion of E.DSO in high-level policy discussions related to the distribution grid and investments.

  1. Grid investments shall be high on the EU agenda, with distribution grids the backbone of the digital and energy transition.

E.DSO advocates for enhanced relationships between the national regulatory authorities and DSOs, the creation of regulatory incentives that reward DSOs for making anticipatory investments in grid infrastructure and the implementation of policies that encourage electrification in sectors like transportation and heating.

  1. Grid technologies and manufacturing capabilities should be European, reflecting their vital role in the reinforcement and expansion of the region’s distribution level infrastructure.

E.DSO advocates for support and incentives for companies to establish development and manufacturing capabilities in Europe and the establishment of a dedicated financial framework to encourage these activities.

  1. The workforce in the DSO industry requires rebuilding, with the looming challenge of the impending retirement wave over the next decade.

E.DSO advocates for the introduction of target investments to address workforce challenges, the establishment of industry-recognised certifications and standards for clean energy-related skills and the establishing of a Net-Zero Industry Academy to equip individuals and industries with the necessary knowledge and skills.