Ensuring Robust Energy Network Planning throughout the Energy Transition

In an article for Recharge, Navigant explores how network planners can prepare for the coming shift in energy consumption

The transition to a decarbonized, digitized, and more sustainable grid impacts the role of transmission planning. It shifts from a simple development of assets to cover peak capacity toward the implementation of a smarter set of tools that allow for the more effective use of existing assets and facilitate achievement of policy goals.

In an article for Recharge, Edwin Haesen, associate director with Navigant, investigated which future challenges already demand attention from system planners of transmission system operators (TSOs) and authorities today.

“The largest uncertainty for system planning may not be technology innovation, financing, or regulation, but rather the shift in energy consumption,” wrote Haesen.

The combination of decentralized renewables (PV, wind), local flexibility (smart meters, batteries), demand electrification for residential homes (heat pumps, EVs), industrial facilities (electromagnetic processing of materials, hydrogen feedstock), and policies of gas phase-outs create significant uncertainty for system planners of gas and electricity systems.

According to Haesen, this uncertainty should not result in postponement as it increases the risk of grid access barriers in the long run.

“System planners must cover both short-term system needs, where economic viability and local stakeholder acceptance are key, and long-term system needs where shifts in the energy ecosystem must be well understood and innovation projects need to be well selected," he said.

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