Heinz Hilbrecht The forthcoming Energy Infrastructure Package





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Published on Nov 17, 2010

The Transition to a Low-Carbon Energy Future: Renewable Energy and Grid Development.

About the Event:

This event focused on the importance of the electricity grid as a key enabler of renewable energy integraton in Ireland and Europe.

Over recent years the electricity sector has entered a period of remarkable change. This change has been characterized by a drive to increase environmental sustainability, energy security and economic competiveness, and is being delivered through a commitment to increase the level of renewable energy on the power system. The European Union (EU) aims at increasing the share of renewable energy sources in Europe's final energy consumption to 20% by 2020, and estimates that 35% of total electricity consumption has to come from renewable energy generation to meet this target. Ireland has also adopted its own ambitious renewable energy target that 40% of electricity demand be derived from renewable sources by 2020.

Although considerable progress has been made in Ireland and across Europe in the renewable energy space, it is important not to underestimate the many challenges that lie ahead. Today, electricity networks in Ireland and across Europe require significant upgrades and new grid infrastructure in order to integrate increasing amounts of renewbale energy and faciltate the transition towards a low-carbon energy future. While EirGrid's "Grid25" strategy provides Ireland with a solid platform to achieve this goal, difficult challenges remain. Without the approprite grid infrastructure in place, integrating distributed intermittent renewable energy sources will be impossible.

In November 2010, the European Commission will present a new Energy Infrastructure package to the European Council and Parliament. It aims to replace the current framework for trans-European energy networks with a broad framework for building a modern integrated grid system Europe-wide.

At this event, leading representatives from the European Commission, ENTSO-E, (the represenentative body for EU Transmission System Operators (TSO)) and EirGrid, Ireland's TSO, discussed the challenges and opportunities of building grid infrastructure, and meeting the renewable energy targets in Ireland and Europe.

About the Speakers:

Heinz Hilbrecht
Director for Security of Supply and Energy Markets, European Commission
Heinz Hilbrecht is since 2006 director for "Security of Supply and Energy Markets" in the European Commission. His directorate developed the Commission's Strategic Energy Reviews of January 2007 and November 2008 outlining a common approach for the energy policies of the Union. He was responsible for the "Third Energy Package", that is the regulatory framework for the EU gas and electricity markets adopted last year. In 2008/9 he successfully negotiated the Nabucco intergovernmental agreement between four EU Member States and Turkey. A proposal for a new regulation on gas security of supply is currently in the legislative process. His work programme for the current year includes in particular a regulation on transparency and integrity of the gas and electricity wholesale trading markets, and a revision of the Trans-European energy infrastructure programme of the EU.

Heinz Hilbrecht began his career as an economist in Germany before joining the energy department of the European Commission in 1980. He worked from 1986 to 1990 at the EU embassy in Washington DC covering energy, environment and transport, and from 1990 to 1991 as assistant to the Commission's Director General for Personnel and Administration in Brussels. In 1991 he became a Head of Unit in transport policy -- first for five years in the aviation sector, and from 1996 to 1999 for railway policy.

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