A decade into the twenty-first century, the EU power sector finds itself in the midst of transformative change. A low-carbon and more decentralised electricity generation system is emerging, while smart grid technologies are creating significant new capabilities. At the same time, conventional generation is under pressure, facing a decline in its future value. Change also is coming as a "new downstream" service model based around energy efficiency offerings, decentralised generation, and new products and services, which are about to take off. Meanwhile, the EU is grappling with how to ensure this transformation achieves decarbonisation and energy security objectives whilst keeping costs at manageable levels.
These changes and pressures have propelled innovation to the fore in the power sector. From a relatively peripheral phenomenon, innovation now is central to fundamental shifts in power sector value creation as well as a precondition for achievement of societal objectives. All power sector participants-from equipment manufacturers to energy retailers-will need to find new ways to improve their products and manage their businesses. EU electric utilities are ready to play their part, and are increasing their investment in innovation.
There is no mistaking the significant potential value of power sector innovation. We estimate that accelerated innovation in power supply technologies and business models for energy efficiency could be worth 70 billion euro to the EU economy by 2030. Additional benefits are also expected in energy security, lower system costs, and consumer convenience. Conversely, if innovation were to slow, the adverse impact could deal a severe blow to EU growth and competitiveness.
EURELECTRIC's Innovation Action Plan was revealed at a high-level conference on 14 May 2013.
See the dedicated website for more information, including the reports and other related material.
- How to foster research, development and deployment of RES-E technologies (October 2011)
- EURELECTRIC's response to the European Commission's Communication on "Smart Grids: from Innovation to Deployment (June 2011)
- Analysis of the EURELECTRIC Survey Questionnaire on the Role of RD&D in power companies (May 2010)
- Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation
- Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union
- Europe 2020: A Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
- Guidelines for conducting a cost-benefit analysis of Smart Grid projects
- JRC 'Smart Grids Projects in Europe: lessons learned and current developments'