ZABALA Innovation lead the coordination of the fifth BRIDGE General Assembly – the key annual conference of the European Commission initiative that unites energy-related projects in the area of Smart Grid, Energy Storage, Islands and Digitalisation to create a structured view of cross-cutting issues.
On 2-4 March 2021, the BRIDGE General Assembly 2021 took place online, coordinated by Zabala and with the support of the European Commission.
The annual event provides the opportunity for energy sector stakeholders to learn about the activities and results of the Smart Grid, Energy Storage, Islands and Digitalisation projects that are involved in the BRIDGE Initiative and to foster closer cooperation for European best practice standards as well as promote the uptake of clean energy technologies in the framework of the Green Deal.
The fifth edition of the event attracted over 200 participants during the plenary session and an average of 70 participants at each parallel session that gathered the 59 ongoing BRIDGE projects. 23 new projects were presented as well as the lessons learned from the 3 finalised ones.
The sessions covered the work of the BRIDGE working groups on Data Management, Regulation, Consumer and Citizen engagement and Business models as well as its Task Forces.
Key session takeaways and next steps for BRIDGE
BRIDGE is now a well-established and successful entity that is attracting an ever-increasing interest from policy makers, industry experts and researchers active in the EU energy sector.
However, greater efforts will be made in future by the BRIDGE secretariat and European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) of the European Commission to facilitate EU energy project participation in BRIDGE activities and reporting.
For example, in the next editions, BRIDGE will open General Assembly participation to other initiatives, external projects, and platforms such as the ETIP SNET (also coordinated by Zabala), the Low TRL energy project cluster, the Clean Energy Transition and the 2ZERO Partnerships, to strengthen the sharing of experiences, define common priority topics, synchronise efforts and optimise the global use of resources to achieve a sustainable energy transition.
In addition, BRIDGE together with the European Commission, the PANTERA H2020 project and ETIP SNET, are working together to create a Knowledge Management and Sharing Platform (EIRIE platform) to make the sharing of data, experiences, working methods and best practices easier for the participating projects.
The 2021 General Assembly emphasized that technologies, and technology development, are crucial to achieve our Green Deal objectives. Our energy system needs to change, the technologies we use need to evolve and some of the technologies we need are not available at a cost-competitive level yet.
On the policy side, the session highlighted the EU strategy on energy system integration, the EU strategy on offshore renewable energy and the Digitalisation of Energy Action Plan the European Union is developing as part of the Energy System Integration Strategy.
Representatives of DG ENER invited all participants to be even more conscious than usual of what is happening at the policy level since it will impact their work for years to come and makes any feedback from BRIDGE even more valuable.
Zabala’s management expertise in the energy sector to help achieve EU clean energy goals
Since the launch of the ETP Smartgrids back in 2006, ZABALA has been strongly involved in the energy sector, particularly helping experts from the grid define research priorities to allow the integration of renewable energies to the grid. Since then, the ETP Smartgrids has transformed into the ETIP SNET in 2016 and is looking at the integration of all energy networks: electricity, heat, gas, transport to allow our energy system to fully decarbonise by 2050.
In addition to ETIP SNET, Zabala has been involved in the management of numerous other energy sector projects such as EU-Sysflex, Romeo, Xflex Hydro, Euniversal, Hydropower Europe, Smartspend, Batteries Europe and; since September 2020, Zabala Innovation now proudly coordinates the BRIDGE Initiative, continuing its track record of supporting energy platforms, initiatives and projects to implement the EU climate priorities laid out in the EU Green Deal.