Eurelectric, the association of major European electricity companies, has warned of the urgency of accelerating grid expansion and digitalization to achieve the goals of the green transition, which will require a doubling of investments in this area by 2050.
In its Energy Barometer 2023, the employers’ association to which the Spanish company Aelec belongs – which also includes Iberdrola, Endesa and EDP Spain – points out that from this year to 2050 an increase in investments of 84% compared to last year will be required on average 7.5% since 2020.
He emphasizes that, in principle, for every euro invested in generation capacity, 0.67 euros must be invested in the network, which is currently just under 0.30 euros.
The Secretary General of Eurelectric, Kristian Ruby, has assured that more lines, more digitalization and more climate resilience are needed for the networks to adapt to net zero levels.
“This requires a change in the regulatory approach. Grid operators must have the opportunity to make early investments so that we can prepare for further electrification,” he said.
In its report, the electricity industry pointed to positive trends after emerging from the peak of the energy crisis, but called for urgently accelerating infrastructure development to meet the challenges of decarbonization and security of supply.
AN IMPROVED INFRASTRUCTURE.
In this sense, he warned that greater investment and improved infrastructure are urgently needed to enable the planned tripling of electrification rates by 2050, as the current capacity of the distribution network to integrate new renewable energy and distributed facilities is limited.
Thus, he explained that in order to deliver the electricity system of the future (the so-called decentralized model), Europe’s transmission and distribution networks must be strengthened and digitized to accommodate all the capacity available today, while at the same time building new infrastructure and increasing the number of kilometers to add it .
He also highlighted that smart meters, a key technology for network management and digitalization, have reached 56% of EU customers – almost 100% in Spain – but are making significantly less progress in Central and Eastern Europe.