Message from Project Director John Lowry MBA, CEng. from Newsletter no. 1, September 2018


Message from Project Director John Lowry MBA, CEng.:

Hello and welcome to the first edition of the EU-SysFlex project newsletter.

The newsletter will appear twice a year and is designed to inform you about progress on the project. It will also look at how our work impacts the electricity sector as we transition to a renewable and co-ordinated European Energy Union. The first edition reflects on our first six months, which was about establishing how we operate from a management and administrative perspective, the working relationships within the consortium, as well as driving forward technical aspects of the project.

Our project is aimed at addressing key operational challenges associated with the transition to a low-carbon power system. There are a number of primary factors that must be considered when addressing the needs of the system in meeting the ambitious European target of 50% renewable electricity sources (RES) by 2030.

Firstly, we must integrate far greater levels of variable sources of electricity such as wind and solar. To date, on a pan-European basis, the level of variability is still relatively low. The majority of renewables actually comes from a more predictable source, namely hydroelectricity.

The transition will not only require far greater volumes of wind and solar, it will also require far greater flexibility from a system operation perspective. This is to ensure electricity grids remain stable and capable of operating at very high levels of RES.

Secondly, where electricity is generated on the system is also changing. Traditionally, electricity is generated in central locations at very large power stations. This is changing.

Electricity is now being generated much further down the network chain, a trend that is expected to continue. For example, it is now possible to generate electricity at home and offer it back to the grid. So over time, the system is becoming more decentralised and more distributed. This also adds to system operation complexity.

Thirdly, electricity use is estimated to increase from 20% of the overall European energy use today to 40% of energy needs by 2050. As well as general increase in demand, a major factor in this will be the electrification of heat, cooling and transport.

From a system operation perspective this is both a challenge and an opportunity. It may help to ensure grid stability, but at the same time it puts greater pressure on electricity grids.

Fourthly, consumer action! Technical advances enable citizens to become more engaged in how and when they use electricity and offer the opportunity to drive down costs through demand side management. Again, this creates both opportunity and complexity for system operation.

Finally there is a clear strategy for the European Energy Union. This will result in electricity grids becoming far more integrated from an infrastructural, market, regulatory and operational perspective.

In summary, we are moving towards a much more complex environment that requires innovative solutions from a system operation, technology, market and regulatory perspective.

The EU-Sysflex project will create a roadmap for European system operation that takes account of this complex environment.

I hope you find the newsletter informative and invite you to sign up to our distribution list to find out more and keep up to date with this exciting project!

John Lowry MBA, CEng.

Project Director.


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