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European Commission’s Project Brings together the next “Energy Game Changers”

The European-Commission-funded SMAGRINET project has just announced the launch of its final conference “Energy Game Changers 2022”. The event takes place on March 17 and will be broadcasted live from the Proto Invention Factory, in Tallinn, Estonia.

The current situation in the European energy market has proved that the European strategies regarding renewable energy have met the crucible of transition. Although the capacity of European interconnections has been evaluated as sufficient since their commissioning, energy prices reaching as high as 1000 EUR/MWh have shown that immense improvement is yet to be done in the European grid. Luckily, homeowners were not affected by the biggest atrocities, as grids were able to find some form of flexibility thanks to industry consumers.

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Countries across the globe have been implementing smart grids to achieve reductions in emissions, increased grid efficiency, utilisation of renewable energy sources and consumer control over their energy consumption. Now, security of supply also comes into focus.

The functionalities, possibilities and boundaries of smart grids are not universally and uniformly understood by all people working in the energy field or in the related or even unrelated sectors. This in turn means that the potential of current grids and expectations regarding benefits of smart grids can be under- and overestimated: postponing or misplanning the future energy transition makes it overly expensive. This is the reason why educating current students and workforce is immensely important. There is a need to provide people with knowledge about the full scope of smart grids and understanding of where the borders between investments into smart automation and dumb copper or aluminium are drawn.

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Implementation of smart grids requires not only significant investments for replacing the current electrical grids with smart grids, but also training of a next generation of electrical engineers, who must be capable of applying new technologies and managing them effectively in the future. Currently, there is a shortage of qualified electrical engineers in many EU countries, hindering the transition from traditional electric grids to more efficient and environmentally friendly smart grids. According to the Energy Roadmap 2050 and Fit for 55, the share of renewable energy in the EU will rise substantially in the near future, achieving at least 55 % in the gross final primary energy consumption in 2050, which is an increment of 45 percentage points from today’s level at around 10 %. Such an all-embracing transformation will affect employment and jobs, requiring education and training and a more vigorous social dialogue.

The conference “Energy Game Changers 2022” will be organized as part of the Horizon 2020 project SMAGRINET that is coordinated by Tallinn University of Technology. Jointly with Technical University of Berlin, Dresden University of Technology, Kaunas University of Technology, University of Lorraine, University of Ljubljana,, CIVITTA and Elektriliit, as well as industry representatives, university modules have been worked out to educate the next generation of engineers and power the smart grid expertise in Europe.

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