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EDITORIAL: Attack defeated, European Court of Justice confirms Renewable Energy Directive

Date : July 2014

By Frauke Thies, Policy Director

National support of renewable energy sources is in full conformity with the EU Treaty. This judgement was made by no one less than the European Court of Justice in its ruling on the Ålands Vindkraft case (C-573/12) on 01 July. With such a clear confirmation of the validity of the Renewable Energy Directive, the EU Court is sending an important signal to investors. Indeed, the Directive appears strengthened by this ruling, giving Member States the full means to live up to their 2020 national binding targets.
The European Court of Justice reached its verdict in the case opposing on the one hand the Swedish Energy Agency and on the other hand Ålands Vindkraft, a wind electricity producer based in Finland which wanted to receive Swedish support for the electricity it exports to Sweden. The Court concluded that the current approach of implementing national support schemes for renewable energy is fully justified and Member States are not required to support the production of renewable energy in other EU States.

EPIA welcomed the clear conclusions of the Court. A ruling favourable to Ålands Vindkraft could have had a destabilising effect on the existing support framework for renewables. Although the binding character of the 20% renewable energy target with its break-down into national 2020 targets had never been questioned, the opening of support could have created high uncertainty for investors.

The ruling of course does not exclude cross border trading and regional cooperation, and the Renewables Directive already offers a positive framework for voluntary cooperation on support mechanisms and target achievements between countries. But Member States should not be forced to open their support schemes to imports, which in the current circumstances would only trigger a race to the bottom between Member States and discourage investments. A forced opening of national support and a blank one-size-fits-all approach on renewables are bound to face this problem at least as long as energy markets themselves are not harmonised.

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HIGHLIGHT: PV providing flexibility to the distribution grid - From troublemaker to solution provider

Date : July 2014

By Frauke Thies, Policy Director

With growing shares of photovoltaics (PV) being integrated into the electricity system in Europe, it is no surprise that questions of grid management and stability are increasingly coming into focus. What still is more surprising to many players in the energy field, however, is that PV systems themselves hold a large and often untapped potential to support the distribution grid.
Did you know that already today, PV systems - primarily through their inverters - are able to deliver a broad range of valuable services for voltage control, frequency support and system restoration, sometimes even at very favourable costs? At least for many Distribution System Operators (DSOs), this is news. In the past, they have often perceived PV as a troublemaker in the grid, disregarding its significant potential to provide concrete solutions for system stability. 

However, with growing shares of decentralised generation, demand response and changing consumer profiles, the business model of the DSOs is changing as they are challenged to become more active system managers. In fact, tapping into the possibilities that PV offers would enable DSOs to operate their grid more efficiently, provide better service to their customers, and keep consumer bills under control. 

To shed light on these possibilities and identify the appropriate steps forward, EPIA and the European Distribution System Operators' Association for Smart Grids (EDSO) organised a joint event during the European Sustainable Energy Week on 24 June, involving grid operators, PV suppliers, the European Commission, as well as a very broad audience of over 120 participants. 

The message of the event was clear: Whilst DSOs recognise the possibilities that PV is able to offer and are warming up to these new opportunities, unfortunately the regulatory framework in most European countries currently does not enable them to engage in the necessary business relationship with PV system owners. Instead of allowing grid operators to remunerate PV generators for services they can provide, regulation often forces them to go for much more costly alternative investments. 

It is high time that European governments and regulators engage in an updating of existing rules. Everyone, including the end consumers, would benefit from a regulatory framework for the provision of flexibility services from PV that would clearly define the role, the possibilities and the remuneration of the different actors.

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Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018: Exclusive extra-content for EPIA Members now available

Date : July 2014

By Sinead Orlandi, Business Intelligence Officer

Following the recent launch of the “Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018”, EPIA Members have access to exclusive extra-content that will help them further develop their businesses. 
A detailed EU analysis by country (including market, policy context, forecast and market segmentation) and an Overview of Support schemes in Europe are now available here, exclusively for EPIA Members. Please log in to the Members Area of the website to access all this information.

Additionally, EPIA Members can access on the same webpage all global historical and forecast data (country by country, region by region), as well as all figures and tables of the report and a presentation of the main findings of the report.

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PV GRID and REserviceS Final Events: Shading light on PV grid integration and grid support services potential

Date : July 2014

By Manoël Rekinger, Senior Technology Advisor

The PV GRID Final European Event, organised by EPIA in close cooperation with BSW-Solar, will take place on 29 September 2014 in Brussels, in order to present the project final results. During different thematic sessions, DSOs, representatives of the PV industry as well as external experts will discuss technical and regulatory solutions for a smoother integration of high shares of PV into the grid. The event will be followed by a networking cocktail.
More information about this event is available here.

The day after, 30 September 2014, EPIA is co-organising with EWEA the REserviceS Final Event  also in Brussels. During this event, the final study that investigates wind and solar based grid support services at EU level will be launched, offering lively debates in panels about the project’s recommendations from both a technical and a market perspective. A synthesis report of the project results can already be downloaded here. The event will be followed by a networking cocktail.

More information about this event is available here.

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Off-grid PV as a viable option for rural electrification

Date : July 2014
Access to clean and reliable electricity is vital for social and economic development. In many regions of the world, decentralised off-grid renewables, such as photovoltaic systems, represent a cost-effective solution for electricity supply.
The 2nd International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition (IOREC) - that took place on 16-17 June 2014 in Manila, Philippines - highlighted the many opportunities of small-scale and off-grid renewable generation for achieving universal access to electricity. Gathering input from various stakeholders working towards improving access to modern energy services, the conference also gave participants the opportunity to identify the needs in terms of policy, regulation and financing in order to scale up off-grid renewable energy deployment in emerging countries.

IOREC 2014 was organised by IRENA, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE). More information about the event is available here.

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IEA PVPS Task 13 launches new reports

Date : July 2014

By Ioannis-Thomas Theologitis, Technology Advisor

The International Energy Agency of the Photovoltaic Power Systems (IEA PVPS) is one of the collaborative R&D Agreements established within the IEA. Part of the IEA PVPS Programme, the so-called Task 13 project has recently released its results for the years 2010-2014. 
The following Technical Reports are now available:A PV Performance Database including operational data of PV plants in different climate zones is also available here.

The IEA PVPS Task 13 is an expert group of 33 international partners from industry and research in 18 countries, working on "Performance and Reliability of Photovoltaic Systems". The overall objective of the Task 13 is to help market actors to improve the operation, reliability and quality of PV components and systems. Operational data of PV systems in different climate zones compiled within the project allow conclusions on the reliability and on yield estimations. Furthermore, the qualification and lifetime characteristics of PV components and systems are analysed, and technological trends identified.

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Presentations of the Event of the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform on PV and home & building automation now available

Date : July 2014
The presentations of the Event of the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform on PV and home & building automation that took place on 26 June 2014 during the EUSEW 2014 are now available online.

To access the presentations and the agenda, click here.

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Presentations of the EPIA-EDSO For Smart Grids Event on flexible grid management now available

Date : July 2014
The presentations of the EPIA-EDSO For Smart Grids event that took place on 24 June 2014 at the EUSEW 2014 are now available online.

To access the presentations and the agenda of the event, click here.

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Presentations of the Policy-Communications WG Meeting are now available

Date : July 2014
The presentations of the Policy-Communications Working Group Meeting that took place on 03 July 2014 are now available online for EPIA Members.

To access the presentations and the agenda, click here (log in first to the Members Area of the website).

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Presentations of the Sustainable Development WG Meeting are now available

Date : June 2014
The presentations of the Sustainable Development Working Group Meeting that took place on 25 June 2014 are now available online for EPIA Members.

To access the presentations and the agenda, click here (log in first to the Members Area of the website).

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Benjamin Fontaine
EPIA
Contact
Benjamin Fontaine
Senior Communications Advisor
@ : b.fontaine@epia.org
T. : +32 (0)2 709 55 23

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