The CEO of Litgrid AB, Daivis Virbickas, is part of the new European Commission’s experts group on electrical interconnection targets and in this interview he explains his vision on the future of the power sector, the investments required and about finding a pragmatic and sustainable model for financing the interconnection projects. Cristina Dascălu (CD): What is your vision for the future of our European energy system? Daivis Virbickas (DV): European power consumption statistics and trends show that energy demand will continue growing, and electricity will remain the most convenient type of energy. Solutions that increase the level of comfort for businesses and households will increase the electricity demand, although at the same time, the consumption will become more effective. Due to innovations, consumers will increasingly produce electricity for their households, however, the demand to ensure power system stability will remain, and the tools for system balancing will grow ever more sophisticated. CD: What challenges and opportunities in the power sector can we expect in the future? DV: The major challenge for the system operators will be ensuring system stability and security of supply, whilst at the same time, the share of renewable sources will continue to grow in the generation mix. It is of crucial importance to ensure the balance within the generation, within a power system provided by renewables, and by the traditional resources enabling flexible generation. If this balance is not observed, the stability of the systems will be at risk. CD: Where is the biggest innovation potential for electrical interconnectors? DV: As far as the transmission grid is concerned, the high voltage technology is determined by [...]
The European Commission has appointed CEEP as a member of its expert group on electrical interconnection targets. Ms. Ivona Štritof, Head of Regulatory Affairs, HEP Group, will be a permanent representative of our association, Prof. Madejewski – a candidate proposed by our member PSE S.A. – will serve as a substitute when required. The Director-General, Mr. Dominique Ristori, in his correspondence, declared that “the Commission had received a great number of high-quality applications”, so we at CEEP, are especially proud of this particular success, as it provides yet another signal of our effectiveness and status within the EU environment. The inaugural meeting of this high-level group will take place in Brussels on the 17th and 18th of October. The appointment is valid for two and a half years, and may be renewed once. Daivis Virbickas, CEO of LitGrid AB, a CEEP member, will be as well part of this experts group. One of the group's tasks will be to propose solutions to the European Commission, to overcome bottlenecks for the proposed 15% interconnection target by 2030, related in particular, to the financing of projects and permit granting procedures. The Commission seeks advice on how to break this down into regional, country, and/or border interconnection targets. CEEP agrees with the Commission that “well interconnected electricity infrastructure is a key condition for a fully integrated, competitive, and sustainable internal market for electricity in the EU. To reach the EU’s ambitious energy and climate targets by 2030, investments in energy grid infrastructure must be stepped up [...]
The European Commission is planning to launch a comprehensive inquiry into national remuneration schemes in the electricity sector. Such schemes have been introduced, or are being considered, by several Member States in order to ensure investments into flexible generation capacities, which are needed to balance out the increasing amounts of variable renewable electricity coming into the grids. In 2013, the Commission published a set of state aid guidelines, saying that capacity mechanisms should only be introduced where there is a clear system adequacy need that cannot be solved through other measures. However, as an EU source remarked, and reportedly, - on condition of anonymity – the Commission does not have comprehensive information on how the different capacity schemes operate or about their impact on the internal energy market. Therefore, the Commission plans an inquiry on the issue. The Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition stated that he could neither confirm, nor deny the news. Most European electricity markets are currently mainly organised as energy-only markets in which the market prices should, in theory, provide sufficient incentives for new investments in production capacity. The current markets, however, are characterised by increasingly intermittent capacity, low margins on supply, and in varying degrees, by overcapacity and lower load factors for thermal plants. Energy companies, subsequently, are confronted more and more with a lack of funds. The revenues on electricity supplies are simply all too often insufficient to cover the total costs. Naturally, the majority of politicians fear the risks of supply disturbances, along with the risk of black-outs, and of course, high peak prices. Many stakeholders advocate that establishing capacity remuneration markets is, therefore, [...]
The European Commission launched, amid a great public fanfare, one month ago, its’ key policy initiatives for 2015, promising much change. It is a working plan built around the almost obsessive trilogy of keywords at the EU level: jobs - growth - investments. One can understand from this document that Juncker’s team has two main objectives: a €315-billion investment plan for Europe and a set of better, rather than more, regulations. In the past five years, the Commission has proposed an average of 130 new initiatives in each annual Work Programme, whereas this latest one in the series comes armed with only 23 - two of them concerning energy and climate. The first of these two initiatives is a “strategic framework” for an Energy Union that will focus on “energy supply security, integration of national energy markets, reduction in European energy demand, decarbonising the energy-mix and promoting research and innovation in the energy field”, although it is yet to be decided if it will be non-legislative or legislative. Furthermore, it will include “revision of the EU Emissions Trading System, as part of the legislative framework post-2020”, and consider implementation of the market stability reserve, which is currently being discussed by Member States and MEPs. The European Commission’s Vice-President for the Energy Union, Mr. Maroš Šefčovič, set out a five-pillar structure for it last year, in October, which is likely to remain a ‘foundation stone’, but ‘the devil is in the details’, which is evident with the new energy governance system: a hot issue already. This may determine where regional levels get reinforced, and can influence, - it goes without [...]
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