EU increases support for smart grids but more needs to be done
Brussels, 3 December 2012 - The European Union has taken an important step forward in the effort to improve its energy infrastructure, but does not go far enough when it comes to the creation of "smart grids" - which are important for the distribution of electricity from renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaics.
Today the Council Presidency informed the Energy Council of the political agreement reached on 27 November 2012 on the Regulation on Guidelines for trans-European Energy Infrastructure. This Regulation will support the timely development of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) in energy infrastructure through increased simplification and transparency of permitting procedures and clearer deadlines for building new infrastructures. The completion of the identified electricity priority corridors will, in the medium to long term, benefit the deployment of all renewable energy technologies in Europe, including solar photovoltaic energy. However, when it comes to smart grids deployment, only projects above a 10kV voltage level will benefit from support.
"Europe needs a broader approach to improving its energy infrastructure," said Frauke Thies, Policy Director of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). "Important resources should also be geared towards the European distribution grid, which hosts an increasing number of small distributed electricity generators, such as photovoltaics."
Thies added: "Unlike the medium voltage grid, the low voltage network is not yet equipped with communication infrastructure for small distributed generation. That means its valuable support to network operation can't fully be exploited."
Negotiations on the complementary Regulation establishing the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) are still ongoing. The photovoltaic industry strongly encourages European policy makers to equip the CEF with an ambitious budget and to gear its support towards the integration of renewable energies, notably through the implementation of smart grids projects.
Note to editors:
EPIA - the European Photovoltaic Industry Association - represents members active along the whole solar PV value chain: from silicon, cells and module production to systems development and PV electricity generation as well as marketing and sales. EPIA's mission is to give its global membership a distinct and effective voice in the European market, especially in the EU.
For more information:
EPIA, Head of Political Communications