According to IRENA, the expected cumulative annual growth rate of electricity demand in the EU + UK is 1.8% until 2030. At the same time, if we meet the new RePowerEU targets, renewable energy generation capacity will increase by 61% by the end of the decade - 70% of this will be connected to distribution grids. Integrating decentralized assets into a grid that needs to be modernized and expanded at the same time as more electricity-consuming assets (EVs & heat pumps) are connected is no easy task. How can we deal with all of these challenges of grid modernization, decentralization and sector coupling at once? How is this changing the roles of energy players and why is holistic integration becoming so important?
Gordon Charles Thompson, VP of Corporate Development and Partnerships at E.ON One says, "matching demand and supply is becoming significantly more difficult in a world with intermittent production. And the problems that arise from that is its becoming harder to provide affordable energy which is reliable and sustainable at the same time."
Jan de Smet, Managing Director of Energy transition Solutions for B2C at Engie BELUX, adds: "In the beginning, we could not influence consumer behaviour...But if we look at what is happening today, notably on the gas side and the gas prices, I can tell you the consumption behaviour has changed significantly. There is a higher awareness from consumers of the scarcity and of course indeed the function of the market through the height of prices...more consumers are preoccupied with their energy consumption."
Rainer Enzenhöfer, Manager of Disruptive Developments Network Economy at TransnetBW believes that regulation needs to keep up with the changing energy landscape and encourage new solutions in the field. He says, "business models are not really to be implemented in Germany right now because the regulatory framework is not allowing it. The good thing, in my opinion, is for now that we see in the politicians a shift to be more open to sandbox rooms in Germany but this is in the context of research projects."
Antonella Battaglini, CEO of the Renewables Grid Initiative, highlights the importance of taking all factors into account. "We cannot speed up this energy transition at the expense of nature, because we do not only have an energy crisis and a climate crisis, we also have a biodiversity crisis...it's not doing either or, it's always doing everything at the same time."