Energy System Integration
What is the Energy System Integration?
The decarbonisation of the energy system requires an increasing level of integration between its various components. Today, network operation and planning, market design, and regulatory provisions are developed separately by type of energy carrier.
Energy system integration refers to the planning and operation of the energy system as a whole - across multiple energy carriers (e.g. electricity, gas, heat), infrastructures, and consumption sectors (industry, buildings, transport) - by more strongly linking them with the objectives of decarbonisation, energy efficiency, affordability and reliability of the energy system.
It includes three complementary and mutually reinforcing concepts:
A more circular energy system, with efficiency at its core
A greater direct electrification of end-use sectors
The use of renewable and low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen, for end-use applications where direct heating or electrification are not feasible, not efficient or have higher costs.
The energy system integration is expected to be a dynamic and learning-by-doing process. The results will depend on the development of economic, technological, environmental, and social elements at local, national, European and global level, as there is not a “one-size-fits-all" solution for all Member States.
The European journey
At European Union level, the discussion on energy system integration started in 2018 with the European Commission's “Long-Term Strategy To 2050", which highlighted the need for a smart market and system integration. In June 2019, the Council of the European Union issued their “Conclusions on the future of energy systems in the Energy Union to ensure the energy transition and the achievement of energy and climate objectives towards 2030 and beyond", highlighting the key role of the energy system integration for a cost-efficient decarbonisation target, as well as the importance of citizens' participation and self-consumption via smart cities and energy communities in order to realise sector coupling.
ACER and CEER issued the Bridge Beyond 2025 Conclusion Paper in November 2019, which includes regulatory proposals for the decarbonisation and energy system integration targets.
Following the release of the European Commission's European Union Green Deal at the end of 2019, the European Commission issued the Communication “Powering a climate-neutral economy: An EU Strategy for Energy System Integration" (July 2020), which proposes policy and legislative measures at EU level to gradually shape a new integrated energy system.
Studies and impact assessments will be carried out and contribute to the EC legislative revisions to be proposed by June 2021.
The Agency is following closely the discussion at European level on the topic of Energy System Integration, given the vast economic, health and social benefits and positive externalities to be brought by its efficient and effective implementation to the European and global citizens. As such, this section will be regularly updated with the latest and most relevant findings.