The ‘Good Practice of the Year’ competition rewards those who dare to think outside the box when it comes to creating the grid for the energy transition. This year, the three distinguished innovators come from Spain, Germany and Switzerland; they have committed to protecting the Mediterranean ecosystem, developed a Mobile Citizen’s Office, and worked with self-learning algorithms to effectively integrate distributed energy resources.
The champion practice in the ‘Environmental Protection’ category was submitted by Spanish transmission system operator (TSO) Red Eléctrica de España (REE). They have developed and implemented a methodological guide to restore a sea grass species that provides essential functions to the Mediterranean ecosystem. The award jury was fascinated by REE’s approach, saying: “It is an impressive and impactful undertaking that focuses on the recovery of important marine ecosystem services, including as a nursery for fisheries and as a carbon sink, therefore contributes to the fight against climate change in a very relevant way and protects the natural environment of the Mediterranean.”
Daniel Perez, Manager of Sustainability and Innovation Area at REE responded to the award win, saying: “We’re particularly proud of this project because it demonstrates the enormous potential of the approach we believe in: combining the commitment to sustainability with a strong vocation for innovation in a collaborative environment.”
The ‘Communication & Participation’ category is headed by German TSO 50Hertz, who developed a mobile information van, the ‘Mobile Citizen’s Office’, that visits and engages people who might not be able or willing to partake in traditional information events. It is a simple and very flexible method to reach a wide range of people living in more remote areas and has the potential to be widely replicated. “50Hertz came up with a different and innovative way to establish trust in every day situations and hugely expanded the opportunities for people to engage early and extensively”, the jury explains their choice.
Marco Nix, CFO of 50Hertz, stressed that “with the ‘Mobile Citizen’s Office’ we do not only inform, but “unlock” very valuable local knowledge to improve the project outcomes. Many thanks to the jury, this special distinction motivates us to foster our public participation efforts.”
The winning practice in the ‘Technology & Design’ category comes from Swiss energy company Alpiq, who developed a real-time data-to-decision platform to effectively integrate distributed energy resources. Our jury praised their practice for its relevance in today’s energy landscape and its likelihood of becoming a commercially successful practice. “It is universally applicable. It is not a disruptive practice, but still utilising technology that we will be relying on much more in the future. It combines the future way of working with a very good insight to the existing system”, the jury states as its reasoning behind the choice.
Dr. Christian Zaugg, Head of Digital Offering at Alpiq, accepted the award and said: “Using self-learning and real-time technology is key to master the challenges of the renewable energy transition. We are proud that Alpiq is recognised as a front-running innovator for our digitalisation practice.”
Other impressive submissions included a corridor management practice and a practice utilising old infrastructure for underground cables in the environmental category, communication and participation measures from a gaming app that lets players balance the grid to a holistic dialogue process that puts politicians at the centre, and further technical solutions that tackled smarter network management.
The Renewables Grid Initiative is very proud of the diverse selection of exemplary practices that were part of the award competition this year and warmly congratulates the winners. We extend our thanks to our amazing jury, who donated an incredible amount of time and expertise to make sure the very best practices receive the recognition they deserve. And last, but certainly not least, we thank the international auditing and advisory company MAZARS for accompanying the evaluation process for the fourth year in a row.