On 17th October, the IEA published a grids report report, 'Electricity Grids and Secure Energy Transitions.' The report presents a comprehensive overview of today's electricity grids, and how they affect the renewables potential worldwide. It calls for governments’ attention to the role of the grid in the energy transition, by giving key figures to grid connection queues, grid permitting vs RES development, renewables curtailment status in addition to other figures. Surprisingly, the report focuses on digitalisation, discussing its potential to better assess, manage and integrate flexibility on grids. However, the report does not highlight the role that flexibility can play, in particular for grid planning and management.
During the report launch, the IEA summarised their 6 main recommendations:
Bring planning up to date
Strategic and integrated planning across sectors
Improve how grid operators are renumerated
Regulatory overhaul toward proactive grid development
Secure supply chains
Firm and transparent project pipelines to enable resilient supply chains
Digitalised infrastructure and advanced distributed resources
Build a skilled workforce
Create a pool of talent with digital and electricity skills
Optimising all steps of the grid connection procedure is paramount to achieve an efficient and faster integration of assets, for small to large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projectsRead the paper
The solar industry supports these calls for actions, something which is complemented by our recommendations from our recently published, ‘Solar Connection’ report with Eurelectric. Our report was the outcome of three roundtables we held with grid operators. In a letter with 6 other associations, SolarPower Europe has also called for more political attention to be directed towards the grid. The Commission’s upcoming grid action plan – still to be defined – must also include a grid flexibility action plan. Solar projects in the pipeline cannot wait 10 years for grids to be built.
As said by Fatih Birol at our SolarPower Summit in March 2023, “solar is queen of the energy systems.” Future growth should not be wasted – or held back - because of poor grid planning!