EU should embrace an integrated approach to networks development

For immediate release – Thursday 15 November 2012

Energy Networks Association (ENA) has welcomed the publication today of the European Commission’s Communication on the energy market. The policy document, titled "Making the internal energy market work", sets out some early principles on how the energy market in Europe should operate both in terms of infrastructure, and the wholesale and retail markets.

Following on from the implementation of the 3rd Energy Package, it was clear that more was needed to ensure a fully functioning energy market across Europe. This latest addition to the debate has rightly identified the deployment of smart grids as a key component to making this a reality and the need for the right regulatory framework. Something that has been critical in the UK.

David Smith, Chief Executive of ENA, said:

“The delivery of a smart grid is critical and we continue to work with the Commission for the right regulation for the UK. But it is vital that the EU embraces an integrated approach to this, ensuring that the networks can effectively innovate to secure system reliability and stability. The need for innovation is a challenge and any guidance from Europe should reflect the principle of smart regulation.

“As our EU-wide energy future delivers greater interconnection, more intermittent energy sources and a more diverse set of demands from consumers, EU regulators would benefit from the approach taken by the UK regulator Ofgem and the Low Carbon Networks Fund. Through this opportunity to innovate, networks have successfully partnered with suppliers and communication and technology companies, delivering beneficial results and learning for the industry.”

Electricity and gas transmission companies will lead on the interconnection challenge, while the distribution companies focus within member states will be on managing the connection of distributed and micro generation, and the development of smart demand response.

The networks companies need a stable, predictable, supportive and long term regulatory framework that will incentivise and facilitate the innovations that are needed. Ofgem was an early mover but more needs to be done, especially on a European scale.

The Irish Presidency of the EU begins in January and it is understood that technology is a priority. It is hoped that this will help drive the Commission’s Communication on energy technology expected next year.


Notes to editor

ENA represents the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.

The report – “Making the internal energy market work” can be downloaded here.

Details of the Low Carbon Network Fund can be found here.

For further information please contact:

Tim Field MCIPR,
Head of Press and Public Affairs
Energy Networks Association
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)207 706 5157
M: +44 (0)7725 372 758

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