The region of South East Europe is an important geo-strategic energy corridor and transit energy region, and there is a strong need for new energy projects in order to ensure energy security and energy transit towards and across Europe. Regional energy networks represent strategic infrastructures for security of supply and sustainable economic growth.
One of the most important challenges in developing infrastructures in SE Europe is making distribution grids smarter. Smart Grids technologies constitute the most important and effective way to transform the traditional energy grids. Major investments are needed in distribution systems in most of SE European countries:
- for accommodating large shares of renewable and distributed Generation in a cost-effective way
- for improving the quality of electricity supply, meeting the average overall or guaranteed standards of the EU countries,
- for fulfilling new roles and responsibilities concerning active management, demand response, decentralized generation, data handling etc.
The level of alignment with the relevant EU practices within the region requires timely action.
While countries in the region face deep economic and financial crisis, smart investments are even more important, as they affect the rest of the necessary energy infrastructure. Moreover, these investments contribute to economic growth and play an important role in providing competitive advantage. They also affect the future labour market requirements.
The economic crisis has tightened the availability of investment financing, even in cases of long-term reduction of costs. Questions are rising:
- Is it possible to finance Smart Grids investments with reasonable cost?
- Is the financial environment stable to enable investments and allow long-term planning?
- Besides the economic environment, does the regulatory framework hamper investments?
- What are the risks and opportunities in investing in SE Europe countries?
This is a Joint EURELECTRIC-HEDNO Workshop.