RGI News

New factsheets on RGI work and power sector online

We have updated the factsheet section of this website. From now on you can not only find short topical overviews of PCIs and underground cabling, but also about transmission system operators, community compensation, offshore grids and environmental assessments. In addition, we have expanded and updated our factsheets about the various activities that RGI is pursuing including our best practice work and the EU-projects BESTGRID and INSPIRE-Grid. Take a look and download the factsheets that interest you most here.

Experts discuss environmental impacts of offshore grid infrastructure at workshop in Brussels

On 9 December, 35 experts joined the RGI expert workshop “Offshore grid infrastructure: understanding cumulative impacts & exploring multi-functionality and environmental monitoring” in Brussels, including grid operators, environmental NGOs, cable manufacturers and decision-makers.

Presentations were held on the current status quo of grid infrastructure deployment, on the forthcoming guidance document of the European Commission on energy infrastructure and Natura2000, and on environmental impacts of offshore grids. Moreover, three case studies on the COBRAcable, NORD.Link and the Sicily-Malta interconnector were introduced by TenneT and Terna.

During discussions, participants agreed that there are still many knowledge gaps regarding the environmental impacts of grids, including the effects of electric and magnetic fields and heat dissipation on species and the seabed. Moreover, it was acknowledged that concise information about different cable laying techniques and the availability of data would be useful.

More information
All presentations and impressions of the day are available here.
Next steps
RGI has commissioned the company NIRAS Consulting to undertake a review on the impacts of subsea cables on the marine environment, key environmental information needed for offshore grid development and environmental protection, and possible knowledge gaps. The report also includes expert testimonials. Results will be published soon.

Grid operators and NGOs call on global decision makers to commit to a strong climate deal in Paris

Berlin, 04 December 2015 - Today, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI), a unique coalition of NGOs and electricity grid operators (TSOs), issued the statement “Electricity grids for renewables – for a safe global climate”. RGI calls on global decision makers to commit to phase out fossil fuel emissions globally by 2050 and to move towards energy systems largely based on renewable energy, to prevent dangerous climate change. 
The full statement is available here. For a pdf version, click here.

Fundación Renovables joins RGI

RGI gains a second partner organistion in Spain. After Spanish TSO Red Eléctrica became a member earlier this year, we are especially happy to now also welcome the NGO Fundación Renovables (FR) among RGI’s partners. FR is a civil society initiative working towards creating a new energy vision in all areas of society and the economy.  

In a statement on the new cooperation, FR’s president Domingo Jiménez Beltran refers to RGI as a "much needed platform to share experiences, information and best practices". We believe that RGI is exactly the right place for these ambitions and extend a warm welcome to our new partners.  

Find out more about Fundación Renovables here.

Honouring innovative approaches in grid development: Winners of “Good Practice of the Year” award 2015 revealed

Brussels, 19 November 2015.

The winners of the Renewables Grid Initiative’s 2015 “Good Practice of the Year” award received their trophies at the second annual award ceremony in Brussels today. The jury decided to honour practices focussing on the creation of green corridors under electricity grid lines (by LIFE Elia-RTE), a stakeholder advisory council (by EirGrid) and a pulse-heating concept (by ESCSH).

2015 Award winners Fintan Slye (EirGrid), Simon de Voghel (LIFE Elia-RTE), Gérard Jadoul (LIFE Elia-RTE), Antonella Battaglini (RGI), Olivier Feix (Elia Group), Johan Mortier (Elia Group), Leif Lüdemann (ESCSH), and jury members Marie Donnelly and Baard Eilertsen.

Prizes went to “Creating Green Corridors” by the LIFE Elia-RTE project for their efforts in “Environmental Protection”, the „Pulse heating“ by the Energy Supply Organisation of the Cooperative Society in Hjortshoej, Denmark (ESCSH), for their achievements in “Technology & Design” and Irish grid operator EirGrid’s “DS3 Advisory Council” in the “Communication & Participation” category. Jury members Marie Donnelly (Director of Directorate C at DG Energy) and Baard Eilertsen (Founder of energy advisory company Truebase) congratulated the winners at the ceremony that took place at the Théâtre de Vaudeville in Brussels.

To find out more about the evening's winners read more here or download our brochure presenting the best cases of the 2015 "Good Practice of the Year" competition. And don't miss our photo gallery.

Press release: European Grid Operators, Policymakers and Representatives of Civil Society Tour California

This week, a delegation of top-level European grid operators and energy leaders will visit California to learn about innovative practices and exchange experiences from both sides of the Atlantic. The Renewables 100 Policy Institute and RGI are organizing the tour to set up a platform for long-term collaboration on best practices aimed at improving reliability, increasing economic benefits, and limiting environmental impacts during the energy transition.

The October 2015 tour will focus on the following topical areas: 

  • Innovation & new technologies (DR, storage, ICT, cyber security)
  • Regulatory frameworks to facilitate the transition to a carbon free energy future
  • Regional & cross-sector collaboration
  • Evolving business models & ownership structures

Read more

RGI gains new partner: welcome Red Eléctrica!

RGI has a new partner. We are very happy to announce that Spanish transmission system operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE) has joined the RGI family. REE is the sole transmission agent and operator (TSO) of the Spanish electricity system. The company carries out this mission under the principles of neutrality, transparency, and independence, with the aim of providing a secure, efficient electricity service of maximum quality for society as a whole. We are very excited to work together closely in the future and extend a very warm welcome to REE.

Find out more about our cooperation and read our interview with REE representative Roberto Arranz Cuesta, in which he shares his hopes for collaborating with RGI, tells what he considers REE’s biggest challenges and opportunities at the moment and describes his expectations for the Energy Union.

5th European Grid Conference – “Digital Energy and the Power Grid: Trends and Opportunities”

For the 5th time, the European Grid Conference will assemble high-level decision-makers to discuss major societal, political and technological developments in the electricity sector – this year’s topic: the digitalisation of energy. We will debate the impact digitalisation in the electricity sector has on markets and new actors including virtual power plants and prosumers. Further conversation will focus on big data as a potential enabler of the energy transition as well as the impact of flexibility and demand and response on the new energy landscape.   

RGI is teaming up with ENTSO-E this year and organising the 5th European Grid Conference vis-à-vis ENTSO-E’s Annual Conference on the 20th of November, for which RGI is also on board as a partner.  

Save the date. RGI's 5th European Grid Conference will take place Thursday, November 19th from 13:00 to 18:00 at the Brussels City Theatre (KVS). The event is followed by a joint RGI/ENTSO-E networking dinner that also includes the Good Practice Award Ceremony.  

View the full programme and register here.

Final BESTGRID Conference on ‘Implementing Projects of Common Interest’

More than 90 participants assembled on 23 September for the final BESTGRID conference in Brussels. The event focused on the implementation of ‘projects of common interest’ (PCIs) and reflected both upon the political and regulatory framework and on experiences from BESTGRID pilot projects on the ground.

Input was given by the three major organisations that are involved in identifying a list of PCIs every second year: the European Commission, ACER and ENTSO-E. Their views on the roles that EU institutions should play for the implementation of PCIs were challenged by the environmental NGO EEB.

Moreover, grid operators and NGOs jointly presented four pilot projects that were implemented within the framework of BESTGRID. Their lessons learned from two and a half years of close cooperation on the ground were shared with the audience. Afterwards, four topics were discussed in separate groups: a) The relationship between biodiversity projects and public acceptance; b) financial framework for a successful cooperation of grid operators with stakeholders, such as NGOs and associations; c) possible impacts of compensation on the acceptability of projects and challenges in having different compensation schemes for interconnectors; d) overhead lines and underground cabling: criteria for the use of cable technology on the extra high voltage level. 

The BESTGRID consortium thanks everyone who participated at different instances throughout the project lifespan for insightful contributions, feedback and your shared experiences! We would appreciate it a lot if you could give us your final feedback about the project in a short survey.  

All BESTGRID publications and further information about the pilot projects are available on the website: www.bestgrid.eu

Jeremy Rifkin and Bente Hagem: the digitalisation of the energy transition

On 15 April, more than 100 participants listened to Jeremy Rifkin's keynote speech on the internet of things and the third industrial revolution at the event "The Importance of Big Data for the Energiewende" in Berlin. In his inspiring presentation, he asked the audience to do everything in their hands to maintain the current trends in the Communication, Energy and Logistics Internet. Bente Hagem, Chairperson-elect of the board of ENTSO-E, reflected Rifkin's remarks with her vision for the electricity sector in the next five years. 

The event was co-organised by RGI and Stiftung Mercator as part of the Berliner Stiftungswoche

German grid operators and environmental groups jointly support reform plans in open letter to German Minister for Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel

For a successful energy transition, and to achieve the CO2 reduction targets set for 2020, it is important that policy objectives are met reliably. Only in this way can all market participants adapt to the transformation and its consequences. The German transmission system operators TenneT and 50Hertz and the environmental groups Germanwatch, WWF and NABU, who work together in the Renewables Grid Initiative, welcome Minister Gabriel's efforts to create the framework to achieve these political goals. Read more

Exchanging good practices: 3rd BESTGRID workshop in London

Are you familiar with the programme “Natural Grid” that aims at enhancing ecosystems through the innovative use of National Grid’s assets? And have you ever thought about engaging with your stakeholders with the help of an old sofa? Infrastructure project promoters, NGOs, and authorities all over Europe are facing very similar challenges regarding public acceptability, stakeholder engagement, permitting procedures and the reduction of environmental impacts. Many have developed new approaches and brainstormed innovative ideas. Why not learn from these and enhance them instead of reinventing the wheel?

With this purpose in mind, our 3rd BESTGRID workshop on 26 February in London was dedicated to exchanging good practices. With the help of three formats - speed dating for networking purposes, pitches and an info marketplace - successful practices and beneficial experiences have been shared.

A full list of practices, the workshop summary and all presentations can be viewed on our event site.

Driving grid innovations: TenneT, Bystrup and BirdLife win first “Good Practice of the Year” award

Brussels, 27 January 2015
The winners of the 2014 “Good Practice of the Year” competition were awarded at the 4th European Grid Conference in Brussels today. The Dutch-German TSO TenneT won the prize in the “communication and participation” category and Danish pylon designers Bystrup and NGO BirdLife took home trophies for “technology and design” and “environmental protection”, respectively.

TenneT won the award, created by the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI), for their info-mart concept. “The info-marts have enabled us to begin the public dialogue at a very early stage – andspecifically in personal discussions on equal terms,” says Ben Voorhorst, Board Memberat TenneT TSO. “The more than 6,000 personal discussions that we managed to conduct at the info-marts along the planned transmission corridor are crucial for the project’s acceptance. The approximately 3,000 statements and concrete suggestions from the public have helped us to improve the project planning at this very early stage, and TenneT will actively involve citizens also in the further procedural steps.”
BirdLife’s “Preventing electrocution of endangered birds” project won in the “environmental protection” category. It was a jury favourite because it addressed and solved a specific, relevant problem and is an excellent example for the effectiveness of a multi-stakeholder initiative. The project was led by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and BirdLife International and was successful in preventing endangered birds from electric shocks on distribution power lines in Bulgaria and the Sudan by installing special plastic insulators on dangerous poles. The implementation in Bulgaria was carried out together with local DSO EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie. "It's very cheering to have the value of our work recognised with this award. It's amazing what can be achieved for wildlife when conservation NGOs and industry work together", said Angelo Caserta, Regional Director of BirdLife Europe.
Danish power pylon design and engineering company Bystrup received the “technology and design” award for designing the “Eagle Pylon”, a pylon that not only serves as a visual alternative to classic lattice pylons, but also proved an asset in gaining public acceptability, easing production and installation, and reducing maintenance efforts. Founder of Bystrup, Erik Bystrup, said: “The winning design is simple, cost-competitive and as opposed to traditional solutions, can be constructed in a single day. Its innovative structure also means that it will be much shorter than existing pylons, and therefore less intrusive.”
The ten best cases of the 2014 competition can be viewed in a brochure illustrating the top award contenders. It can be downloaded here.

New RGI Board elected

21 October 2014. At this week’s RGI Members’ Assembly a new RGI Board was elected. In line with RGI rules and traditions the Board again consists of three NGO and three TSO representatives. Newly elected Board members are Jörg Spicker, Head of Market Operations at Swissgrid, and Paul-Georg Garmer, Senior Public Affairs Manager at TenneT. All previous Board members, who ran for another term, have been confirmed in their roles. They are WWF’s Stephan Singer, Germanwatch’s Christoph Bals, 50Hertz’ Olivier Feix and RSPB’s Ivan Scrase.  

The new Board will meet for the first time on December 19th in Berlin, where they will kick-off their tenure and amongst other things decide on who takes up the different Board responsibilities, including chairmanship, policy formulation, communication, strategy formulation and treasury.

Electricity PCIs and subsea cables in the North Sea are a major step for integrating renewable energy in the European grid

Berlin, 28 October 2014. Last week, the Norwegian government licensed the construction of two European energy infrastructure “projects of common interest” (PCI). The two 1400 MW subsea electricity cables will enable the North European region to exchange electricity and use the Norwegian hydro power potential, enabling greater use of renewables.
Other grid developments aiming at renewables integration, such as the German DC links connecting the wind regions in Northern Germany to the South of the country, are also important developments to combat climate change, increase security of supply and improve market efficiency.

RGI welcomes these investment decisions, and invites project developers to use these projects as opportunities to understand better how to minimise and monitor impacts, especially in the marine environment. These projects can be used to collect environmental data and share information and lessons with other operators that are or will be constructing power lines, in particular those defined as PCIs. It is essential that all PCI projects are carried out to the highest standards of nature protection and with full respect for the participation rights of affected stakeholders and citizens.

Electricity PCIs are at the forefront of the transition to a secure, sustainable, renewables-based energy system in Europe, and are essential for achieving the post-2020 climate and energy framework of the EU. Other projects, such as those aiming for a stronger interconnectivity with the Iberian Peninsula, the Baltic region and Ireland should also be considered as priorities. RGI hopes that the development of additional interconnectors needed for the integration of growing shares of electricity from renewable sources will also receive strong backing from national governments and regulators.

RGI is ready to contribute to shaping the governance structures the EU needs so that the newly agreed targets can be met or exceeded while protecting nature and the rights and interests of all citizens. Coherence of, and synergies among governance mechanisms for energy infrastructure, efficiency, renewables and energy security are essential to deliver the necessary investments for the energy transition, stimulate the European economy and create local jobs. A more ambitious infrastructure target can only be successfully implemented if its delivery is compatible with the CBA methodology developed by ENTSO-E and the related PCI process following the TEN-E legislation. 

Press contact:
Theresa Schneider
T: +49 30 767719455

Welcome Legambiente! Italian NGO joins RGI

RGI has recently welcomed a new member. Leading Italian environmental NGO Legambiente has decided to join RGI this month. Legambiente is the most widespread environmental organization in Italy with its headquarters in Rome, 20 regional branches and more than 115,000 members and we are very happy to have them on board. We look forward to working closely with the organisation’s RGI representative, Legambiente Vice-President Edoardo Zanchini, who is interested in discussing topics, such as distributed generation, smart grids, nature protection and community involvement in grid planning with fellow RGI members. Welcome to RGI, Legambiente!

Find out more about Legambiente and its cooperation with RGI here.

Report Launch: 'Connecting Energy, Protecting Nature'

Today, BirdLife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau jointly launch the report "Connecting Energy, Protecting Nature" in Brussels.

Developing Europe’s electricity transmission network is essential to maintain secure and affordable energy supplies, and for the transition to a sustainable energy system. To help achieve its energy and climate policy objectives, the EU selects certain electricity, gas and oil infrastructure “projects of common interest” (PCIs) and promotes them as the highest priority investments for the EU.

RGI's partner BirdLife Europe and the EEB broadly support the PCI approach. However, they urge EU institutions to use the framework to enable an ecologically sustainable energy transition. With the report, they present their ideas on how to protect nature when planning and investing to become a low carbon society.

Download the full report here.

Open Letter: The need for clear, stable nature and climate mandates for grid investment

29 September 2014

Today, the Renewables-Grid-Initiative has sent an open letter to the President-elect of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

RGI urges the environmental protection measures provided by the existing Habitats and Birds Directives not to be diminished, but rather to secure the harmonized implementation of these directives at national level and to streamline the procedures to properly develop the electricity grids throughout Europe. Sound and clear legislation for nature and climate protection is essential for timely deployment, access to capital markets and for public support. Any change that creates uncertainty and delays is likely to prove counter-productive for Europe’s energy transition and the related grid development.

Read the full letter here.


Antonella Battaglini appointed to the WEF Global Agenda Council on the Future of Electricity

RGI’s Executive Director Antonella Battaglini has been recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as “one of the world’s most relevant and knowledgeable” experts concerning the future of electricity. Antonella will be a member of the international organisation’s soon-to-be-established “Global Agenda Council on the Future of Electricity” for the next two years. The Council’s main task is to deliver strategic ideas for the long-term electricity future, which will guide the WEF Energy Utilities & Energy Technologies Industry Community during the current transformation.

The Network of Global Agenda Councils is an “invitation-only knowledge network that serves as an international brain trust to the World Economic Forum and the world at large”. It was established in 2008 and comprises 86 Councils.

Find out more about the Network of Global Agenda Councils in this video.

Website launch: European Commission’s ‘Grid Infrastructure Communication Toolkit’ is online

On 24 June 2014, the Commission has launched an online toolkit that features essential elements for successful, inclusive project communication and constructive multi-stakeholder dialogue at the local level of any power grid development project.

The toolkit is the result of a project initiated by the European Commission in autumn last year. The EU’s Directorate-General for Energy commissioned a consortium led by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants to support local acceptance of grid development projects. The project was governed by a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee (TSOs, NGOs, DG Energy etc.) in which also RGI participated and shared its experience.

The final product of the project, the toolkit, includes detailed descriptions of different communication and engagement elements, including relevant stakeholders, different planning stages, communication channels and formats, and good practice examples. It is intended to be used by all actors involved in grid development projects, such as TSOs, public authorities, NGOs or citizen action groups who would like to inform themselves about their opportunities to engage in the process. It is available here: http://www.grid-communications-toolkit.eu/

Successful BESTGRID workshop on social acceptance

28 May 2014 - During our first BESTGRID workshop in Hamburg, more than 70 participants from TSOs, civil society, politics, industry and academia came together to discuss the future of social acceptance.  

RGI and its BESTGRID consortium partners gave an overview of the project and held in-depth presentations that introduced two of project’s pilot projects, TenneT’s SuedLink and Elia’s Braine-l’Alleud to Waterloo line. The recent controversial discussions surrounding the need of the former grid line also inspired the concluding panel discussion on lessons learned from unexpected high public opposition and the simultaneous withdrawal of previous political backing in Bavaria.  

Previous discussion sessions throughout the afternoon focused on online tools for increased stakeholder dialogue, innovative participatory approaches and new forms of grid ownership.  

All presentations and an image gallery with impressions of the day are available on the BESTGRID website.

California Grid Operator CAISO supports European Grid Declaration

Berlin, 28 March 2014. Yesterday, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) presented the Renewables-Grid-Initiative (RGI) with an official statement of support for the European Grid Declaration. The document also emphasises CAISO’s appreciation for the work of RGI and highlights the multiple similarities between the two organisations.

CAISO CEO and President Stephen Berberich presented the official endorsement document to Antonella Battaglini, Executive Director of the Renewables Grid Initiative, and applauded the organisation’s dedication to sustainable grid development as a critical component of the future clean energy paradigm. The Californian grid operator and RGI both value close collaboration with stakeholders and building the future grid based on sustainable practices in harmony with the environment.
“This endorsement underscores the fact that grid operators share a set of common opportunities and values in this important time of energy transformation across the world”, said Antonella Battaglini. “For us, this is an important recognition of the importance of our work and a first step to future collaboration with each other”.
The statement, signed by the CAISO Board of Governors, praises the EGD signatories for their commitment to collaborative work on integrating renewables and their efforts to “simultaneously preserve and protect species and ecosystem integrity.”
“Transmission development in California is based on principles similar to those set out in the EGD,” said CAISO Governor Angelina Galiteva, who is also Chair of the Board of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute.
The CAISO representatives are in Germany this week as part of a tour of California energy experts and regulatory leaders to discuss with their European counterparts how to advance ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, while adapting the distribution and transmission grids to increasingly high penetrations of renewable based power generation. 

Renewables 100 and RGI look forward to collaborating on issues related to the integration of increasing shares of renewable energy sources into the power grid.

See the full CAISO statement here.

Press contacts:
Stephanie Bätjer, Stephanie (at) renewables-grid.eu, T: +49 30 202158576
Matthias Bank. m.bank (at) renewables100.org, +1 310 4886700

Grid operators and green groups united in calling for binding 2030 renewables targets

Berlin, 26 February 2014. Today, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI), a unique coalition of NGOs and electricity grid operators (TSOs), issued a statement supporting an EU 2030 climate and energy policy framework with clear, ambitious objectives for the development of renewables.

In March, the European heads of state and government will discuss the EU 2030 climate and energy policy framework. RGI calls on the European Council to agree in a timely manner on an ambitious and coherent set of binding targets for 2030 for (i) greenhouse gas emissions reductions, (ii) energy efficiency and (iii) renewable energy. The related needs for grid development and system security must be carefully considered when designing supporting mechanisms and policies.

“Industry and civil society have come to a common understanding of what is urgently needed now”, said Antonella Battaglini, Executive Director of RGI. “The build up of grid infrastructure is intrinsically connected with the uptake of renewable energy. Robust 2030 targets will bring clarity for investors and confidence among local communities.”

“Grid development is a long-term exercise”, said Boris Schucht, CEO of 50Hertz. “Clear political targets for 2030 will give us the confidence to plan and build only the needed grid infrastructure for the transition towards a sustainable energy economy.”

"Climate change will drive mass extinctions if we don't switch to sustainable renewable energy”, said Angelo Caserta, Regional Director BirdLife Europe. “But nature is already in crisis, and the transition itself needs to take nature protection seriously too. With this statement the RGI and its partners have, once again, shown leadership in making sure renewables investment, grid development and nature protection are mutually beneficial."

See the full statement here.
Press contact:
Theresa Schneider, theresa (at) renewables-grid.eu, +49 162 2056686

Project Database on Underground Cables online

As a first result of the Learning Group Underground Cables, RGI is very happy to announce that its dedicated Project Database is online now.

The Project Database provides a comprehensive overview of planned and operational high voltage undergrounding projects in Europe. Projects are listed with technical and geographical background information, such as cable type, insulation material, cable manufacturers and length. Furthermore, an interactive map shows the project’s location and its start and end point. We will include more and more projects to the database and will keep it updated, so that it will remain an interesting information pool for industry, academia, policy-makers, and other stakeholders interested in the current status of underground cabling projects in Europe.

The Learning Group on Cabling intends to systematically pull together available experience on cables and their impact on the natural environment. At a later stage, the Learning Group aims to: determine how to evaluate the options of overhead lines vs. cables in specific natural settings; give recommendations on relevant criteria to look into; explain the choice of cables vs. overhead-lines to a concerned public.

Like to have a look right now? Click here

If you have any questions or if you want to add additional projects, please contact RGI's Andreas Reinhardt.

Watch David Olsen’s “Energiewende lessons” from California on our website

In early December 2013, David Olsen, former president of the Renewables Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) and current member of the Board of Governors of the California Independent System Operator CAISO, delivered the keynote speech at RGI’s Berlin event “Energiewende made in the USA – What can we learn from California”.
He inspiringly talked about how he and his colleagues used collaborative planning processes to identify zones for renewable energy generation and the transmission to access them. In addition, he explained what they were doing to create a single integrated energy market in the Western United States and shared Californian thoughts on energy security.

Have a look at David Olsen’s educational and motivating speech, available as a video right here or embedded with some additional information on the event’s page.

Best Practice Update: get an overview of new practices in 2013

In 2012, the Renewables-Grid-Initiative had initiated a project on best practices. On-going grid development projects have been examined in order to identify the most urgent challenges, the most promising attempts in finding solutions, and the lessons learned for future action. The European Grid Report summarises these findings showing the current state of the art in harmonising grid expansion with environmental protection principles and improving public participation in planning procedures.

In December, RGI published an update, which complements the findings of the European Grid Report on what has been attempted, what works and what needs further reviewing when it comes to grid planning and permitting procedures.

The update covers on-going activities and relevant experiences of RGI's TSO members. As in the 2012 report, it focuses on the need determination, spatial planning and permitting processes of grid development projects. Both the European Grid Report and its 2013 update are available for download here. Moreover, all positive examples are included in our database where you can easily search for information that you are looking for.


Thank you all for an exciting first week of December – inspiring input, discussions, and conversations in Brussels and Berlin

We are very happy that our events on 4 and 5 December attracted wide interest. The focus of the 3rd European Grid Conference was an exchange of good practices and lessons learned in grid development between Europe and the United States, or more specifically, the state of California. The American ‘sunshine state’ is a pioneer in sustainable energy policy and cooperative grid planning processes, whereas the EU has its own ambitious climate targets. The conference offered insight and innovative approaches from both sides of the Atlantic – in terms of technology, market, policy and society.


At the event “Energiewende made in the USA”, discussions focused on lessons from California for the German Energiewende. California’s goal of having renewable energy make up 33 percent of the power mix by 2020 is ambitious, as similarly seen in Germany. The exchange of experiences on what has worked well in the past and what needs further efforts, was lively and enriching. 

All presentations and additional information can be found on the event pages: 3rd European Grid Conference and Energiewende made in the USA.

We thank all the participants and contributors for their insight and wish everyone a peaceful and relaxing end of the year!


Launch of BESTGRID website

As one of nine partners of the EU-funded BESTGRID project, RGI is very happy to announce that a dedicated BESTGRID website is now online.

The BESTGRID project tackles challenges related to planning and realising grid development projects by approaching them in innovative ways. TSOs and NGOs work together on four grid pilot projects to improve local and public acceptance. Objectives of the project are to enhance transparency and public participation, to speed up permitting procedures by proactively addressing or even surpassing environmental protection standards, and to encourage the implementation of constructive public engagement in permitting procedures for European energy infrastructure “projects of common interest”.

To find out more about the project visit bestgrid.eu. The website explains the background of the project, further details it’s objectives and takes a close look at all four pilot projects. In addition, you will find news on upcoming events and publications and have the chance to sign up for the newsletter keeping you up to date on next steps and BESTGRID’s overall progress.

Like to have a look right now? Click here

If you have any questions, you can contact the BESTGRID consortium under info@ich-will-keine-spambestgrid.eu


RGI PCI Workshop - Thank you!

Almost 100 people participated in our RGI PCI Workshop this week. We thank everyone who contributed and hope for many follow-up discussions on the implementation of the TEN-E legislation in coming months.

Presentations and an image gallery with impressions of the day are available here.

PCI Workshop in cooperation with EU Commission and ENTSO-E

The “Guidelines for Trans-European Energy Infrastructure”, that came into force in May this year, are a great opportunity for further improved transparency and participation in the electricity grid planning processes. Successful implementation of the new legislation will require all actors to: fully understand the PCI processes and their interactions; develop their own role and relationships with other stakeholders; and engage in and contribute to these processes in the best possible way. 

The adoption of the first list of PCIs by the European Commission (expected in autumn) creates a momentum for stronger cross-sector collaboration and for a shared interpretation of what the European “common interest” in the Guidelines means for TSOs, stakeholders, customers and citizens. We would like to seize this opportunity to discuss different aspects of the legislation and its implementation with concrete examples.

The Renewables-Grid-Initiative would like to invite you to the RGI Workshop 

“Understanding Projects of Common (European) Interest – 
Concrete examples on how to implement the TEN-E Regulation”
Brussels, Belgium
22nd October 2013
Hosted by ENTSO-E

 Please visit our event page for more information and registration.


RGI newsletter September 2013 out now

Summer break is over – the RGI Secretariat is looking forward to many exciting developments this autumn. Preparations for our next workshop on “Projects of Common Interest”, which we are organising in cooperation with the European Commission and ENTSO-E, are in full swing. It will take place on the 22nd of October in Brussels. In the meantime, we have gathered initial ideas for this year’s European Grid Conference. Our theme will be “Innovation”; more information will follow very soon.
In July, we were very happy to welcome a new member: CAN Europe, Europe's largest coalition working on climate and energy issues, joined RGI. We are all very excited and looking forward to fruitful collaboration!

The full newsletter is available here: http://eepurl.com/E53vD


RGI Offshore Workshop: documentation online

RGI's last workshop on "Stakeholders' Perspectives on Offshore Grids and the Marine Environment" in Bergen, Norway was a big success. More than 50 participants discussed topics, such as the need for offshore grid, their environmental impacts, spatial planning approaches or stakeholder engagement during offshore grid expansion projects. Presentations and a summary of the workshop are available on our workshop site.


Best practice database is online

Are you working on a grid expansion project and are facing challenges concerning public participation or transparency? Or do you work at an NGO and would like to get new ideas on more effective cooperation with TSOs? Perhaps you’re looking at projects that minimise impacts of electricity lines on nature for more inspiration? Then our best practice database is the right tool for you!

In December of last year, the Renewables-Grid-Initiative had presented the results of its best practice project at the 2nd European Grid Conference. The main findings have been published in the European Grid Report. To make the more than 80 best practice examples from seven European countries more user-friendly and easier to find, we have developed the database. It gives you the opportunity to apply different filters and search functions to quickly find the information you need.

Go to our database site for more information and look for our best practice examples that will hopefully help you with your daily work.


The facts are in

RGI has replenished its website with some new facts. As of now, you can find “Topical Fact Sheets” in our documents section.

These fact sheets deal with different topics directly linked to RGI's work. They give a first overview of the most important facts pertaining to a specific subject, which has to do with either the structure and activities of the Renewables-Grid-Initiative or a topic that RGI is working on. For the moment, you will find a general fact sheet about RGI and our activities as well as some sheets dealing with different aspects of underground cabling. In the coming months, the selection of papers to choose from will be growing continuously.

We hope, we will be able to make complicated topics more accessible for you!


CAN Europe has joined the Renewables-Grid-Initiative

RGI is delighted to announce that its circle of partners has once again grown. We are happy to welcome the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe as our newest member and are exited to be joined by Europe’s largest coalition dedicated to climate and energy.  From now on the RGI secretariat will be working very closely with Daniel Fraile, Senior Policy Officer EU Energy and Climate at CAN Europe, who shared that he is looking forward to being part of a “fruitful cooperation between industry and civil society” on the way to the transformation of our energy system.

Find out more about CAN Europe and its cooperation with RGI here.


New study on long-term power system planning online

The Smart Energy for Europe Platform (SEFEP) has published the report "Long-term Power System Planning in the Context of Changing Policy Objectives". 

The issue of long-term power system planning, especially in the context of changing energy policy objectives, is relatively new. However, it is generally acknowledged that it is of central importance in many regions around the world. The European Union in particular is pursuing ambitious decarbonisation policy objectives. Still, there is only limited experience, let alone successful implementation, on procedural rules to structure longer-term energy system planning processes for the coming 20?40 years.

The study identifies the “building blocks” of energy system planning: assumption building, dispatch, stability analysis, network adjustment, etc., and applies this to nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland). In addition to these country case studies, the study describes network planning processes on the European level and in the Western Interconnection of North America.

You can download the study here.


Inspiring workshop in Bergen, Norway

RGI would like to thank all participants of RGI's Offshore Workshop in Bergen, Norway which took place at the end of last week. Presentations and discussions were fruitful and revealing. Documentation of the workshop and more pictures will be online soon.

RGI Newsletter is online

April showers bring May flowers – spring 2013 has brought a variety of new activities to the Renewables-Grid-Initiative. In a new format, the so-called ‘Learning Groups’ RGI will bring together stakeholders from different backgrounds to discuss topics on a more intense level. In 2013, RGI will initiate groups on three themes: Grid Expansion in Marine Environments, Dimensions of the Grid and Underground Cables.

In May 2012, the RGI Secretariat was busy writing a proposal for EU funding under the Intelligent Energy Europe programme. Almost one year later, in April 2013, the project BESTGRID was started with eight partners from NGOs, TSOs and academia. RGI is delighted to lead this exciting project during the next 2.5 years.

We hope you will enjoy reading our RGI news including information about current and past RGI activities, discussions about the electricity grid in Brussels, and upcoming events. 

You can read previous issues of our newsletter here.


Project BESTGRID has started: European Union supports four pilot projects

Berlin, 9 April 2013 – The Renewables-Grid-Initiative is pleased to announce the start of the project BESTGRID. Four pilot projects for renewables grid expansion will be developed and implemented within the coming 30 months. During the projects, new approaches to increase public acceptance and to speed up permitting procedures, while respecting or surpassing standards for environmental protection, will be tested.

The BESTGRID consortium brings together grid operators (National Grid, Elia, TenneT, 50Hertz and Terna) and non-governmental organisations (BirdLife Europe, Germanwatch) from across Europe to cooperate in designing, implementing and evaluating the pilot projects in Germany, Belgium and the UK. The renowned International Institute for Applied system Analysis (IIASA), will accompany the project, monitor and evaluate the success of the tested approaches.

The BESTGRID project will disseminate the lessons learned widely across Europe and establish an intensive exchange of best practices. Moreover, two guidebooks will be produced and disseminated, focusing on “Participation and Transparency” and “Protecting the Environment and Engaging Environmental Stakeholders” in grid development projects.

A special focus of the dissemination will be on countries where ‘Projects of Common Interest’ will be developed, to ensure that best practices will be applied here. The BESTGRID project will thereby be a key milestone towards implementing the EU Regulation on trans-European energy infrastructure which has been adopted by the European Parliament and Council in March.

BESTGRID Partners: 50Hertz, BirdLife Europe, Elia, Germanwatch, IIASA, National Grid, TenneT, Terna, Renewables-Grid-Initiative (coordinator)

For more information, contact Antina Sander, antina@ich-will-keine-spamrenewables-grid.eu

The BESTGRID project has been selected for EU co-funding under the Intelligent Energy Europe programme, coordinated by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI).

Summary and presentations of Cable Workshop online

How many kilometres of EHV underground cables are feasible while securing system stability? What are the impacts on the environment during the construction and the operation of underground electricity grids? How high are additional costs of underground solutions compared to overhead lines? And what are potential savings? What criteria could be used to decide between underground and overhead solutions during planning and permitting procedures?
These and other questions were addressed during RGI's Cable Workshop "Understanding Underground Cables" in Switzerland by speakers and more than 70 participants from TSOs, NGOs, industry, academia and politics. Check out our workshop summary and the event website for presentations and discussion outcomes. 


Council and European Parliament have adopted guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure

25 March 2013 - The regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure, proposed by the European Commission in fall 2011, has gone through the formal legislative procedure. After the European Parliament had passed the bill at the beginning of this month, the Council took the same step last week. The first list of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) will be adopted by 30 September 2013. RGI welcomes that the new regulation will enhance transparency and public participation in grid development projects. We will follow the procedure of establishing the list of PCIs closely and hope that the implementation allows for genuine participation of important stakeholders such as environmental NGOs. 

The final text of the regulation is available here.
See RGI's position paper on the first draft of the regulation here.
Commissioner Oettinger welcomes the new regulation in a press release.

RGI at the CeBIT: German Environment Minister wishes success for Grid Expo

The Grid Expo was represented with a booth at this year's CeBIT, the no.1 show for the digital world, from 5-9 March 2013 in Hanover, Germany. Three different pylon models attracted not only German Environment Minister Altmeier and Chancellor Merkel, but also many other fair visitors from all around the world. Have a look at the photos below: 


For more information about the Grid Expo, check out the website: www.gridexpo.eu


RGI Newsletter March 2013 online

The first issue of RGI News in 2013 is out now. Find out more about current and past RGI activities and discussions about the electricity grid in Brussels. Topics include: next RGI workshop in Bergen, Norway; RGI at the CeBIT; 2nd European Grid Conference; European Grid Declaration on Transparency and Participation; European Infrastructure Regulation; ENTSO-E TYNDP stakeholder group. 

Previous issues of RGI news are available here.


Blue-Mic-Statements online

During the 2nd European Grid Conference, RGI collected statements from the signatories of the European Grid Declaration on Transparency and Public Participation.
Find all statements here


European Grid Report handed over to Commisioners Oettinger and Potocnik

5th December 2012. At this year´s European Grid Conference in Brussels, the second part of the European Grid Declaration was signed by 28 parties. The European Grid Report met great interest by both the European Commissioners and more than 200 participants.

More impressions.

Find more information below.

PRESS RELEASE | Grid operators and environmental organisations team up to promote sustainable modernisation of electricity grids

To support a successful implementation of the European Grid Declaration, signed by a coalition of Europe’s 29 largest environmental NGOs and grid operators in 2011, the Renewables-Grid-Initiative (RGI) launches the European Grid Report. The report publishes over 80 selected practical experiences by different RGI members across Europe. Today at the 2nd European Grid Conference in Brussels, jointly organised by RGI and Smart Energy for Europe Platform (SEFEP), the report and the extended European Grid Declaration on Transparency and Public Participation were presented to European Commissioner for Energy Günther H. Oettinger and to European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik.

Under the guidance of RGI, a coalition of Europe’s 29 largest environmental NGOs and grid operators pledged to work in partnership to ensure that the goals of grid modernisation and environmental protection can be achieved side by side. In November 2011 the ‘European Grid Declaration on Electricity Network Development and Nature Conservation in Europe’ was publicly signed in Brussels and handed to EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger. Signed today, the second part of the European Grid Declaration on Transparency and Public Participation states the willingness of RGI members to better inform and involve concerned stakeholders and the broader public about grid extension plans and projects.

Building on the principles of the European Grid Declaration, it is absolutely crucial to enhance and to stimulate the use of “better practices” in designing, planning, and communicating grid modernisation projects. To foster a swifter implementation of successfully proven concepts, RGI launches today the European Grid Report “Beyond Public Opposition – Lessons Learned across Europe.” The report provides a comprehensive overview of ongoing activities and relevant experiences that have been gathered in seven countries across Europe.

Signatories of European Grid Declaration on Transparency and Public Participation:
50Hertz, Bellona, BirdLife Europe, CAN Europe, Civilscape, Climate Parliament, Creos SA, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Dii, European Climate Foundation, Elia, Eurobat, European Hydrogen Association, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Friends of the Supergrid, Germanwatch, Global Nature, Greenpeace, National Grid, Red Electrica de Espana, RSPB, RTE, Smart Energy for Europe Platform (SEFEP), Statnett, Swissgrid, TenneT, Terna, WWF

Please find press release here with quotes of:

  • Antonella Battaglini, Executive Director, Renewables-Grid-Initiative
  • Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for Energy, European Commission
  • Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission
  • Sir Graham Watson, MEP and Chairman of the Climate Parliament
  • Kristina Steenbock, Executive Director, SEFEP

Finden Sie hier die deutsche Pressemitteilung.

RGI in BirdLife report on the 2020 biodiversity target

Today, BirdLife is releasing the report "On the road to recovery" on EU member states' progress towards meeting the 2020 biodiversity target. We are glad to see that RGI and the European Grid Declaration are mentioned as positive examples (full report, page 17 and 32).

The report acknowledges our work of bringing together TSOs and NGOs:

"Increasingly, renewable energy developers and grid operators recognise the importance of avoiding unnecessary harm to biodiversity in planning new developments. The Renewables-Grid-Initiative is an innovative coalition of grid operators and environmental NGOs, exploring ways to improve the public acceptability of new power lines that the EU needs to accommodate for a high share of renewable energy. The European Grid Declaration on nature conservation, and other RGI initiatives to build dialogue and trust, show how much can be achieved where NGO and industry stakeholders come together to find common ground (see case study: Renewables Grid Initiative)."

For more information on the overall report, visit the website: www.birdlife.org/eubiodiversityreport2012/
The case study on RGI is available here: www.birdlife.org/eubiodiversityreport2012/?page_id=1811


RGI supports interconnectors between NO, the UK and DE

The Renewables-Grid-Initiative welcomes the official announcement of the development of two interconnectors from Norway to the UK and from Norway to Germany by the Transmission System Operators National Grid, TenneT and Statnett.

The interconnectors will contribute to a higher share and more stable uptake of energy from renewable sources in the regions and are thus key to realising European climate goals. They will increase security of supply and help the transition towards energy production from renewable energies in Europe.

The projects will enter a challenging permitting procedure soon. RGI underlines that this permitting procedure needs to fully respect legislation on environmental protection and biodiversity from the initial stages and that early public participation is of high importance. RGI furthermore underlines that an early cooperation between TSOs and NGOs will help to achieve these objectives and so support the achievement of a fast permit granting.


There is no contradiction between building grids and environmental protection

Berlin, 15 June 2012: Regarding the announcement published yesterday by the German Federal Minister for Economy Dr. Philipp Roesler that it is necessary to discuss on the EU level to which extent existing birds and habitat directives hinder a timely expansion of the energy grid, Antonella Battaglini, Executive Director of the Renewables-Grid-Initiative, states:

"The 29 signatories of the European Grid Declaration, including a large number of transmission system operators (TSO) and environmental organisations (NGO) from across Europe have already agreed that there is no contradiction between building grids and environmental protection. Opening up the subject again will not deliver a faster grid development, rather a polarization among different stakeholder groups with unpredictable consequences. The European Grid Declaration provides a set of guiding principles to build up the necessary grid with full respect of environmental regulations. We should refer to it for guidance and inspiration”.

RGI is a platform for such debates. RGI takes on this issue and invites the German Federal Ministry for Economy (BMWI) to join. TSOs and NGOs strive for a strong cooperation to find common solutions for the current challenges in order to accelerate the 'Energiewende' in Germany and in Europe.


Press Release | European Grid Conference

Grid operators and environmental organisations team up to promote sustainable modernisation of electricity grids
Innovation and expansion of European power grids to unlock full potential of renewables

Brussels, 10 November 2011 - The unlocking of Europe's full potential for renewable energy via the modernisation and expansion of its power grids should go hand-in-hand with nature conservation efforts, said a coalition [1] of Europe's largest grid operators and environmental organisations. The “European Grid Declaration on Electricity Network Development and Nature Conservation in Europe” was handed to European Commissioner for Energy Günther H. Oettinger today at the European Grid Conference in Brussels.

In October, the European Commission put forward a draft law making it easier to build and finance cross-border power lines, which are essential to making Europe’s energy system greener. The coalition of grid operators and civil society organisations supports Europe’s ambition to boost renewable electricity and cut carbon emissions.

Read the full press release including quotes and the full text of the European Grid Declaration including the list of inaugural signatories. A photograph of the Declaration being handed over to EU Commissioner for Energy Günther H. Oettinger will be ready for download on this website at 16:30 on 10 November 2011.

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