As 2020 approaches, will Europe meet its clean energy goals?

Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay
Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay

Just months ahead of the Energy and Climate Package, Europe is at a pivotal moment in its energy strategy. Since 2005, most European countries have entered a transition process where renewable energy is one of the main pillars. Within this configuration, the network has become the backbone of an electrical system that aims, ultimately, to be carbon neutral. 

2020 is coming soon

But while the initial renewable energy projects in this area distant memories, 2020 is fast approaching. By next year, Brussels has set a goal of an overall share of 20% of renewables in gross final energy consumption. At the end of 2017, the country was at 17.5%. By 2050, the hope is to achieve carbon neutrality. And while each member state has its own target for 2020, 11 of the 28 countries claim to have already achieved theirs by 2017.

But despite good intentions, these numbers hide significant disparities. According to the European Court of Auditors, half of the EU Member States actually may not achieve their targets by 2020. 

To prevent this from happening, the institution considers it crucial to increase investment and improve pathways for renewable energy deployment. Among the challenges identified are the need to adapt permitting rules which, are at times, too restrictive and the need to simplify administrative procedures. 

Towards a decentralized and cooperative energy model

The energy sector is in fact undergoing a profound transformation that is reshuffling the cards. Thanks to the digital revolution and the growing integration of renewables, the centralized energy model that we have functioned under for decades has given way to a decentralized and cooperative model, focused on a few central players. While consumers have also made a place for themselves, network managers and energy aggregators have taken on a much larger role leading an ever-expanding community as flexibility operators. 

Current and future technological developments represent tremendous opportunities to meet the challenges we must meet, including the storage of renewable energy and electric mobility. The expected arrival of 5G should accelerate the development of the Internet of Things and thus multiply the potential of smart grids and, ultimately, smart cities. 

European energy ecosystem meets at EUW 2019

Beyond technology and the legislative framework, the challenges of the energy transition cannot be overcome without pooling the skills of European players . And this is the challenge of the European Utility Week, which aims to bring together the forces of the continent. As the saying goes, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Energy stakeholders from all across Europe are planning to attend the 10th European Utility Week (EUW) in partnership with POWERGEN Europe. Taking place in Paris for the first time, a city leading in the fight against global warming, more than 18,000 professionals and 800 companies and startups will be together from 12 – 14 November. They will unveil the latest energy innovations and highlight their shared vision of an integrated energy system.

EUW 2019: 3 days to advance the European energy transition

For three days, the dynamics of the energy landscape will be explored through educational sessions on all topics related to the energy system today.

Four years after the COP 21, Paris will once again become the beating heart of the global energy transition during European Utility Week. 

This article was first published on Réseaudurable and was reprinted with permission.

Editors’ note: to watch a video interview with the author of this piece, Paddy Young, play the video below.

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Paddy Young was appointed Director of European Utility Week in 2013 and has been responsible for the re-engineering of the event proposition including the launch of Initiate! the innovation, start up, young talent and diversity programme which has now been rolled out globally. His interest for sustainability was triggered when turning water technology event Aquatech into a global brand. Alongside the European event he successfully launched Aquatech into China, India and the USA. His broad ranging leadership experience has seen him run events across the world including countries like Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

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