Network Planning Is Critical To The Green Energy Transition

Will Polen, Senior Director, USEA

Supporting the green energy transition in Europe and Eurasia is complex work. Networking planning engineers are critical to making this happen. Little understood even within the power sector, network planning is essential to the security, affordability, and reliability of the daily power supply. Working quietly in the background, network planning engineers provide policy makers, regulators, TSO executives, the financial community, and investors with essential information needed to generate investment in clean energy technology. Today, these gifted engineers find themselves rather unexpectedly in the vanguard of the green energy transition. The USEA Energy Technology and Governance (ETAG) Program is supporting them in two important ways: 1) by providing them with technical support and analysis—including data modeling—to make informed network planning decisions; and 2) by providing them with training in new skills, technologies and software that are necessary to chart the region’s decarbonization while maintaining network reliability.

In Moldova and Serbia, ETAG is conducting renewable energy integration studies to quantify--for policy makers--the maximum amount of variable renewable energy that can be safely integrated onto their grids and the cost of doing so, both in terms of grid reinforcement and balancing energy. In North Macedonia and Montenegro, we are teaching the local TSOs how to conduct a European Resource Adequacy Assessment and are helping them prepare their first assessments. The assessments assume massive decarbonization of the power sector and inform policy makers how much additional generation investment they will require to make up for lost fossil generation, whether they can depend on imports from neighboring countries, and at what cost. East of the Balkans, ETAG is training network engineers to use smart grid technology to increase the amount of variable renewable energy they can integrate onto their grids.

The work of the network planning engineer is quiet and completed with little attention. Yet, it is essential to meeting our climate change goals.

Learn why network planning is critical for all utilities: