Digitalisation in the Energy Sector – Consultation by the European Commission

CONTEXT:

Within the Energy Union, three key targets and policy objectives have been established in light of the 2030 climate and energy framework of the EC: 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 32% share for renewable energy and 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency.

To achieve these objectives, five mutually reinforcing dimensions work together to balance the overarching energy triangle (energy security, sustainability, competitiveness) and enable the achievement of the 2030 climate and energy framework. These dimensions are: (1) Energy security; (2) Internal energy market; (3) Energy efficiency, (4) Decarbonisation, (5) Research, innovation and competitiveness. The Energy Union Strategy also recognises that an innovation-driven transition to a low-carbon economy offers great opportunities for growth and jobs. This would lead to the increasing flexibility in the electricity sector, emergence of new business sectors, new business models and new job profiles. Nevertheless, the transition will also imply adjustments in some sectors, business models or job profiles.

On the other hand, the data-driven nature of the transformation of the energy sector requires understanding the interdependence with the Digital Single Market, to ensure access to online activities for individuals and businesses under conditions of fair competition. The relevant areas include: (1) Interoperability and related standards; (2) Horizontal legislation on data: the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), free flow of non-personal data (FFD), e-Privacy Regulation; and (3) Cybersecurity.

The legal basis for bridging the objectives of the Energy Union and the digital transformation of the energy sector is already present in the Clean Energy for All Europeans package. The Market Design Initiative introduces new provisions closely related to the digitalisation of the electricity sector. In particular, the provisions within the newly adopted Electricity Directive on demand response, dynamic prices, flexibility procurement, access to data, interoperability and data management. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive promotes digitalisation of buildings through the establishment of a smart readiness indicator for buildings and through the introduction of requirements for the deployment of recharging infrastructure for electric vehicles. For heating and cooling, the revised Energy Efficiency Directive requires a transition to remote readable metering devices in district heat and cooling networks and in sub-metering systems within multi-apartment and multi-purpose buildings.

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