The project consortium has identified the following main stakeholder groups (in alphabetical order):
- Consulting and engineering companies
- Distribution system operators
- Environmental and consumer organisations (NGOs)
- Financial institutions
- Others (e.g. energy agencies)
- Policy sector (also public (local) authorities)
- Projects and initiatives
- Energy regulators
- Renewable energy sector
- Transmission system operators
- Universities, institutions and R&D
- Utilities, generators, retailers
Stakeholder positions on energy infrastructure issues in Europe in general:
Power generators, supply companies and distribution system operators (DSOs)
In general the electricity industry supports the reinforcement and extension of grid infrastructure. There is an urgent need to reduce the length of permit procedures. Besides transmission grids, distribution grids will play a crucial role in accommodating variable renewable energy sources (RES). From their perspective, a lack of incentives for grid operators to invest in smart technologies is a major obstacle.
Renewable energy sector
Within this group the development of a pan-European energy infrastructure is supported. This mainly includes the establishment of priority corridors and categories and the definition of clear and improved permitting procedures to ensure timely implementation. Furthermore the sector generally stresses the need for a cost-efficient and appropriately financed energy infrastructure and the importance of grid access, grid stability and storage mechanisms. Resources should also be geared towards the European distribution grid over the next 25 years. The consideration of smart appliances and practices will ensure enhanced participation of RES in the network. Adequate financial resources and a favourable regulatory framework will be incentives to carry out the necessary infrastructure investment.
Projects and initiatives in the field of energy infrastructure
There are several projects and initiatives which deal with aspects of energy infrastructure, particularly with respect to the European transmission grid infrastructure. Their mission includes contributing to the improvement of the power grid in Europe in order to fully integrate renewables and promoting coordination of the development plans and the grid operations of different countries. Their contribution also covers the development of appropriate regulatory, technical and supply chain frameworks to deliver an integrated grid network, built in line with nature conservation and social concerns.
Manufacturers support the extension of the European energy infrastructure. Among other things, they are active in promoting the policy and regulatory framework required to enable European electricity highways. Parameters for future smart grids in Europe are the interoperability, flexibility and capacity to handle an increasing share of energy generated from renewable energy sources and an increasingly decentralised production of energy. The manufacturers’ focus lies in R&D and technologies that are or will be available for future grids. They work in collaboration with European and international standardisation bodies in order to establish a system of worldwide standards and testing.
Environmental and social NGOs
Electricity highways and smart grids will change the structure of the European energy markets. Corresponding changes will affect environmental factors and consumers. From their perspective, a European coordination and policy is needed to ensure a cost-benefit balance.
The positions and the activities of this stakeholder group are driven by the objectives of combating climate change, providing affordable energy to consumers, ensuring security and independence of energy supplies and creating a single energy market.