Energy Infrastructure Transformation as Part of Clean Energy Transition in the EU

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-12-46-54

A. Zimakov (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), Profsoyuznaya Str., 23, Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The clean energy transition in the EU is part of a broader process of EU economy greening. Clean energy transition is frequently seen as a process of green generation capacities expansion along with reduction of thermal power plants share in the energy mix. But in fact green growth in energy sector is effectively limited by the legacy of traditional thermal energy system infrastructure. The article deals with the roots of this effect as well as the ways this problem can be overcome. Main cause of this shortfall turns out to be a different set of green generation features such as intermittence and decentralization. It requires a full scale transformation of energy infrastructure to achieve the capability necessary to accommodate bigger share of renewables. The process steered by EU energy and climate policy implies several main directions: higher interconnectivity, more energy storage, smart grids deployment, more flexibility in balancing markets as part of demand side management. Each of these developments is addressed in the article in detail as well as EU regulatory framework that provides support for transformation in each particular case. Among others to be named: Union list of Projects of Common Interest, TEN-E program and, most recently, European Commission’s proposal of Clean Energy Package. The synergy of these processes driven by corresponding EU policies is expected to provide more flexible commercial and physical infrastructure able to accommodate more renewable energy in the system what should facilitate growth of renewables share in power generation up to full de-carbonization. This in turn should enable the EU to deliver on its Paris Agreement commitments and should help to achieve global leadership in clean energies. 

Keywords: EU, energy market, energy and climate policy, clean transition, renewables, smart grids 


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For citation:
Zimakov A. Energy Infrastructure Transformation as Part of Clean Energy Transition in the EU. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 12, pp. 46-54.

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