In the following table, we have summarised the findings of the e-harbours programme. We make a distinction between findings that are relevant for government bodies and policy makers, and lessons for consumers or business.
The grid works at the moment
The security of the energy supply in the EU countries is high, blackouts and power cuts are rare. The drawback: there is little economic or public pressure to increase the security of the power grid. It is perceived as ‘somebody else’s business’.
Adding more renewables will – eventually – overwhelm the system
Adding more renewables (without changing the energy system) will increase differences between supply and demand, straining the security of supply.
Our showcases demonstrate what happens when an energy grid reaches capacity and renewables can’t be added anymore.
Smart energy systems will help stabilize the grid, and make costly investments in grid capacity superfluous.
Green production needs smart consumption
Putting more money in renewable energy does not help anymore to realize the energy goals of the European Union.
The basic production price of energy is relatively low, but additional taxes and fees are rising sharply and now make up the larger part of the energy bill. In most countries, the consumer is best off when he can avoid taxes through local production.
The subsidies that are directed towards enhancing renewable energies should be diminished, in favour of an approach that stimulates the development of markets for flexibility (like the capacity market),and makes public funding available for smart energy investments.
Technically, flexibility is ready to be exploited
Flexibility is available in large quantities, especially at medium and large industrial plants and in the batteries of e-mobility devices
We need to start enabling more suppliers of capacity to meet future demand for flexibility.
The energy market does not value flexibility and smart operation
There are currently only few options to earn money by exploiting flexibility. This will stay the case, as long as the market for flexibility remains underdeveloped.
We urgently need a new market design (like the development of a capacity market). Smart infrastructures cannot function without smart markets.
The future perspective of the energy market needs to be European, thus increasing competition and enabling transnational solutions.
There is no such thing as best practice
Energy markets, regulation and legislation differ greatly from country to country. What works in The Netherlands might not work in Germany or the UK.
Energy markets misdirected by uncoordinated policies (taxes, levies, juridical barriers) can produce suboptimal results. We need standardisation and coordination of policy
Policy makers need to think of e-mobility as mobile energy storage
And tailor their policies accordingly
Policy makers need to build flexibility into their procurement of vehicles.
Combing electric vehicles with smart houses is a smart way forward
Do not forget small harbours, a little can go a long way
If every small harbour can reduce demand by a MW hour…
Harbours often have lots of land to regenerate and rejuvenate, a blank canvas.
Harbour municipalities are leading the way in terms of energy management, renewables and energy flexibility.
There is a lot of harbour land for redevelopment across Europe. Can it be exploited?
Demand for smart energy will come from people and businesses
EU’s energy goals can be reached by investing in smart energy systems and demand side flexibility (options that are much more cost-efficient than building energy storage facilities or backup power plants)…
….and harbours are perfect places to invest.