10 Jul 2013
de Sépibus, Joëlle
The Integration of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources in the European Union Electricity Market – The case for “Smart Grids”
NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No. 2013/38, authored by Joëlle de Sépibus.
The power sector is to play a central role in a low carbon economy. In all the decarbonisation scenarios of the European Union renewable energy sources (RES) will be a crucial part of the solution. Current grids constitute however major bottlenecks for the future expansion of RES. Recognising the need for a modernisation of its grids, the European Union has called for the creation of a "smart supergrid" interconnecting European grids at the continental level and making them "intelligent" through the addition of information and communication technology (ICT). To implement its agenda the EU has taken a leading role in coordinating research efforts and creating a common legislative framework for the necessary modernisation of Europe’s grids. This paper intends to give both an overview and a critical appraisal of the measures taken so far by the European Union to "transform" the grids into the backbone of a decarbonised electricity system. It suggests that if competition is to play a significant role in the deployment of smart grids, the current regulatory paradigm will have to be fundamentally reassessed.