Policy-adaptation for a smarter and more sustainable EU electricity distribution industry: a foresight analysis

Guillermo Ivan Pereira, Patrícia Pereira da Silva, Deborah Soule

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The European Union (EU) transition to a smarter and more sustainable electricity sector is driven by climate change adaptation and technological developments. For the electricity distribution industry, this has contributed to a growing need to understand how these network monopolies should adapt their role, activities, and responsibilities for a redesigned electricity market, given the growth of distributed generation, and the increased control and monitoring capabilities. Considering this, a foresight study on business model innovation, technological adaptation, and market design policy alternatives is presented. A Policy Delphi method was applied, involving two iterative survey rounds and 207 European experts, which assessed 57 policy alternatives. The results highlight adaptation challenges for implementing new technologies and business practices. Experts support innovation and transition to new roles, and innovative services, while warranting that core electricity distribution activities are secured. This shift in roles is expected to be achieved through research and development (R&D) support policies, innovation friendly regulatory frameworks, and concerted actions at the EU and Member States level. The results provide policy-adaptation guidelines for electricity distribution industry stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231–267
Number of pages37
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Early online date27 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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