Electricity distribution grids are the backbone of the energy transition – but they must be strengthened to cope with our future electrification needs.
More than a third of Europe’s grids are already over 40 years old, and by the end of this decade, that share will have reached 50%. By 2030, it is estimated that between €375 billion and €425 billion will need to be invested in distribution grids.
If electrification is going to help solve Europe’s twin crises of climate change and energy security, the bloc will need more renewable power generation for an accelerated energy transition. That, in turn, will require a reversal of the declining grid infrastructure development.
Our Connecting the dots report highlighted that variable renewable generation and demand response can be orchestrated to deliver security and resiliency outcomes by deploying advanced forecasting, data visualisation, analytics, and decision support tools.
However, to unlock this opportunity, Europe’s grids must be modernised and digitised.
To that end, our third set of game-changing recommendations calls on policymakers to:
- Reverse today’s worryingly receding investment trends in distribution grids, by facilitating access to EU funds, accelerated authorisations, and faster permitting processes.
- Reinforce the grid infrastructure to facilitate the integration of decentralised energy sources, enable the creation of new services for consumers, and ensure a reliable electricity network that withstands extreme weather events or cyber threats.
- Modernise and digitise the grid to ensure its key role in an increasingly decarbonised, decentralised, and digitalised power system.