TenneT joins European TSOs in carbon footprint reduction initiative

A group of European Transmission System Operators (TSOs) will jointly investigate how to reduce their carbon footprint. The result of the joint initiative will be a paper to be completed by mid-2021.

This Green House Gas (GHG) reduction effort will tackle TSOs’ own carbon footprint while also addressing much greater opportunities at system level, driven by electrification and the integration of renewable electricity sources. The joint initiative is supported by TenneT, Amprion, APG, Elia Group, Red Eléctrica, RTE, Swissgrid and Terna.

In the paper, the TSOs will explain and further assess the role played by TSOs in decarbonising the energy system. The paper will clarify:

  • TSOs’ plans and direct initiatives for continuing to reduce the carbon footprint of their own activities and controlling the carbon footprint of their value chains;
  • how TSOs enable secure electrification and RES integration while contributing to the decarbonisation of the energy system as a whole, and how these contributions can be assessed and monitored under a common framework;
  • the most efficient instruments to be implemented and/or supported by TSOs that should be fully activated in the public interest to enable the decarbonisation of the energy system.

TSOs can contribute to GHG emission reduction in two ways: by reducing the direct GHG emissions of their own activities and, more significantly, by playing a key role in reducing emissions at energy system level, through RES integration, electrification of demand and cross-sectoral integration. The full potential of RES integration can only be realised if grid expansion is accelerated and RES are part of the energy market design. These are driving key transformations towards achieving Europe’s long-term decarbonisation targets. Innovation – a critical factor in TSOs’ active role.

Being a key player in the energy transition poses a new challenge for European TSOs. They must implement innovative solutions to deal with electrification and RES integration, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of their own activities and controlling the carbon footprint of their value chain . As a result, there is a need for the timely development of an innovative grid infrastructure that incorporates innovative flexible tools in the public interest.

According to the TSOs, their role is not often fully recognised or well documented at European level, despite their major contribution to GHG emission reduction.

Most of the focus and efforts are still within the bounds of TSOs’ activities, for which the GHG emission inventory is standardised (GHG protocol). Increasing TSOs’ ambitions for GHG targets, sustainability plans and the implementation of enabling instruments requires a joint approach and enhanced cooperation on how to classify and measure system-level GHG emission reduction.