European electricity sector calls for €400 billion investment in distribution networks

European electricity sector calls for €400 billion investment in distribution networks

Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and CEO of EDF and current chairman of the electricity sector association Eurelectric, urged EU countries to invest in distribution networks to support the evolution of electricity. Europe towards carbon neutrality.

“We consider that between now and 2030, approximately 400 billion euros of investment is necessary in the distribution networks”Lévy said at the Eurelectric Power Summit last Wednesday (June 15).

At the same time, Mr. Lévy called for simplified access to European funds and faster authorization procedures to help speed up the construction of new power lines.

“It’s not just solar farms and wind energy”he added, “there is also transmission and distribution. »

Electrification is seen as a key catalyst for decarbonizing the economy and achieving energy independence amid growing tensions with Russia, Europe’s main gas supplier.

However, the share of electrification in the EU economy is stagnating around 22% at the moment, and further measures are needed to support investment in Europe, according to Eurelectric.

Warning against dependence on hydrogen imports

Electrification is set to play a central role in Europe’s move towards climate neutrality, with plans to connect new sectors such as buildings, transport and industry to clean energy sources such as wind and sun.

By mid-century, 53% of Europe’s energy needs, more than double the current amount, will have to be met by renewable or low-carbon energy sources, such as nuclear, has indicated by the European Commission in its energy strategy for 2050.

For sectors that cannot benefit from direct electrification, such as heavy industry, freight transport, maritime transport and aviation, the“indirect electrification” is seen as the solution, with the European Union planning to increase the production of clean hydrogen from the electrolysis of water.

“Electrification is the main priority to be implemented”said Catharina Sikow-Magny, Director at the European Commission’s Energy Department.

“We must electrify as much as possible, wherever possible, then leave what cannot be electrified today to the sectors that intervene”she told summit participants Eurelectric Power last week.

However, the president of Eurelectric stressed the need to maximize hydrogen production in Europe in order to avoid dependence on foreign suppliers.

“We could agree that it could be quite risky that in 20 years, all of a sudden, we find out that there is a problem in one of the countries which is so important for the supply [en hydrogène]. We would then find ourselves in the same situation as what happened when Russia invaded Ukraine”he added.

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