1st conference (2021)
Global electricity distribution operators (DSOs) gathered on 26-27 January 2021 in the first sectoral initiative focused on their contribution to worldwide decarbonisation efforts. Focused on “DSOs boosting the global Energy Transition – Investments and resilience in the Covid-19 aftermath”, this first edition brought together global peers from both hemispheres to have a diversified and lively exchanging of experience and knowledge about DSOs challenges from different perspectives.
The roles and responsibilities of DSOs across the globe are rapidly evolving to deliver, and even accelerate, the energy transition. Against this backdrop, the key aspects of a successful transformation are the uptake of digital solutions, the deployment of resilient infrastructure and the re-training of personnel, as well as the implementation of an ambitious regulatory environment.
A poll was run among participants during the two sessions of the event. We asked to identify the 3 most relevant areas to be considered as priorities for current DSOs’ business in their company/group, and after this, select the 3 key factors that will, in their opinion affect and influence the evolution of distribution systems in the next 10 years.
The current perception was that flexibility and RES integration into distribution grids along with enhanced digitalisation were the key aspects to determine current strategies and priorities. These two items were followed by the necessity to engage the customers and offer new services and, especially among the North American operators, by strong resilience capabilities and climate change impacts awareness.
The perception of what lays ahead depicted a scenario globally valid that assigns equal weight and strategic importance to enhanced digitalisation, resilience ability and climate change challenges awareness and flexibility and integration of renewables.
You can download the documents here and watch again the 2 sessions from the first event:
2nd conference (2022)
Electricity Distribution System Operators (DSOs) from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas gathered on 27-28 January 2022 in the second worldwide Conference focused on “Setting the grid to net zero”. This global event, co-organised by the Association of European Distribution System Operators (E.DSO), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Eurelectric, confirmed its pivotal role as a forum bringing together the most significant DSOs at global level with a shared purpose: to reach net zero, promote new strategies and strengthen resilience in the energy distribution sector. This initiative plays a key role in advancing international dialogue and cooperation in the energy field, building on speakers’ experience to boost the energy transition and the green electrification on the planet.
How to target net zero
Targeting net zero is of utmost importance today. Global decarbonization strategies affect DSOs and have an impact on investment and cutting-edge technologies requirements at the distribution level. One of the main challenges is to combine the needs of supporting decarbonization efforts, including both renewable integration and electrification goals, and the need to maintain reliability and resilience of the grid while doing this. Smart grids and customer empowerment are increasingly promoted by countries as they have far-reaching effects on the decarbonization process.
Providing a comprehensive framework of net-zero strategies from different regions of the world, including experiences of investments in smart technologies and customer integration from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, is paramount in order to deal with the climate crisis and to reach net zero target.
Coupling resilience with grid modernization and expanding prosumers market
DSOs are undergoing unprecedented transformations and they play a central role in the energy transition. The increasing need to maintain the security of supply and reliability of electricity, whilst integrating massive shares of distributed energy sources, connecting grid-edge technologies and actively engaging with consumers are crucial challenges on the path to net zero.
Comparing experiences from different regions of the world, such as the growing use of cutting-edge grids in North America and the implementation of net zero programmes based on strengthening resilience and reliability of grids in South America and Europe, is vital to reach climate neutrality.
Watching the Mediterranean coast and southwards
The African continent is increasingly implementing long-term strategies for net zero and continues its work to provide electricity for all citizens. Speakers from this continent shared their experiences with respect to technologies and investments in many countries, as well as the efforts to tackle electrification challenges to support growth and decarbonization in the region.
Europe and Africa are equally committed to implementing sustainable solutions in the electricity distribution sector. Experiences from Africa are crucial for the Mediterranean region and can set the stage for new cooperation programmes in this field. At the same time, the application of European energy technologies throughout the world can benefit a plethora of countries.