Digitalisation plays a role major in the climate-neutral transition.  In the European Green Deal, digitalisation is seen as a key enabler for decarbonisation in all sectors and particularly in the energy sector.  

In this context of increasing relevance and importance of digitalisation to theindustry, EHPA decided to raise digitalisation as one of its main policy priority areas. EHPA monitors many digital policies and initiatives of relevance to the industry. Only the most relevant are presented here.  

Smart Appliances

A new renewable energy-based and smart energy system requires smart appliances able to interact with each other and with the grid in order to exploit their full balancing potential. In the framework of Ecodesign lot 33, the European Commission commissioned a study in 2014 to analyse all technical, economic, environmental, market and societal aspects relevant for a broad market introduction of smart appliances. EHPA is among the consulted stakeholders.  

The latest draft report recommended as best policy instrument the inclusion of a reference under the form of an icon in the Energy Label, combined with a label information requirement under the ecodesign regulations. Indeed, such option had the advantage of not limiting consumers' choice, but to provide uniform information to enable better comparison of products, as well as to ensure compatibility of energy-smart appliances.  Although the study was expected to be finalised at the end of 2017, the deadline was postponed until at least the second half of 2020.  

Building Automation and Control Systems

Building Automation and Control systems are electronic appliances that manage and control the operation of most technical building services. BACS can realise significant energy saving due to their interaction with other products. According to the preparatory study, the main energy savings are driven by the coordination of several controlled products with BACS.  In the framework of Ecodesign lot 38, the European Commission commissioned a study in October 2017 to complement the on-going studies addressing the development of a smart readiness indicator for buildings and smart appliances under the Ecodesign Directive. While lot 33 looks at the smartness of the product, lot 38 focuses on the functionality. EHPA is among the consulted stakeholders. The study is ongoing and is expected to be finalised by the end of the year 2020.  

Energy Storage

In the European Green Deal communication, the European Commission stressed that smart energy infrastructures are required for the transition to climate-neutrality.  The development of frameworks which foster the deployment of innovative technologies and infrastructures such as smart grid, energy storage and sector integration, is essential.  Energy storage will play a key role in enabling the EU to develop a low-carbon electricity system.  

Energy storage brings benefits to the electricity system in a similar way as demand response, flexible generation and grid extension, by helping save the peaks and provides flexibility solutions to market participants. In February 2017, alongside the Second State of the Energy Union report, the EC published a Staff Working Document titled ‘Energy Storage - the Role of Electricity’, which outlines the role of energy storage in relation to electricity, presents the advantages of different technologies and innovative solutions in different contexts, and discusses further possible policy approaches.

Besides its work in the framework of Ecodesign, the European Commission is particularly active on the topic of smart grids and demand-side flexibility. Indeed, the European Commission set up the Smart Grids Task Force to advise on issues related to smart grid development. There are five Expert Groups which are shaping EU smart grid policies.