4th European Grid Conference

The Power of Collaboration. Energy and Democracy.

Electricity is the engine of modern societies and flowering economies. Economic growth is dependent on energy security. Native renewable resources and related grid infrastructure are at the core of the energy transition. More than ever before, electricity has become a basic need and as such also a democratic right. While democracy comes with responsibility, the bigger picture is often lost in local disputes.

While in the past only a few actors dominated generation and transmission, the picture has been changing during recent years. The trend of citizens “taking back” power over the energy system is increasing: distributed generation, unbundling, citizen co-operatives or re-municipalisation of grids are phenomena often described as the democratisation of energy.

Through new technologies, citizens gain more responsibility and become prosumers (producers and consumers) rather than mere consumers of electricity. What’s more, many citizens request an active part in the financing, planning and permitting of new generation and transmission sites. Still, opposition for infrastructure projects on the ground continues to be fierce. New approaches and solutions are urgently needed.

The European Union plays an increasing role in energy policy, be it through the climate and energy packages for 2020 and 2030, the Emission Trading Scheme, Projects of Common European Interest (PCI) and the recently announced Energy Union.

Supported by

elia-gray tennet-gray


27 January 2015, 12pm – 8pm, Brussels


Reception and registration


The power sector: evolution or revolution? | Presentation
Antonella Battaglini | CEO Renewables Grid Initiative

Video keynote
Maros Sefcovic | Vice President European Commission


Innovation and structural change
Inputs and fishbowl discussion

  • How can TSOs master the challenges of the energy transition?
    Boris Schucht, CEO 50Hertz
  • Disruptive storage options | Presentation
    James McDougall, CEO Younicos
  • Collaboration between DSOs and TSOs: policies required to lead the energy transition
    Roberto Zangrandi, Special Advisor EDSO


Coffee break


Energy and Democracy
Inputs and fishbowl discussion

  • Prosumers – Responsibility and Democracy| Presentation
    Christoph Bals, Policy Director Germanwatch
  • Trust your neighbor: the need for interconnections
    Graham Watson, President Climate Parliament
  • Big data in the electricity sector: peoples’ concerns and needs
    Tor Eigil Hodne, Senior Vice President for European Affairs Statnett
  • Greener grids: infrastructure and biodiversity
    Ivana d’Alessandro, Secretary of the Bern Convention, Council of Europe


The European Energy Union
Keynote: Pierre Schellekens, Deputy Head of Cabinet Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete

Inputs and fishbowl discussion

  • What should the Energy Union deliver for the electricity sector?
    Jerzy Buzek, MEP, Chair of the ITRE Committee, Group of the European People’s Party
  • Is Europe fit for a sustainable market design?
    Ben Voorhorst, COO TenneT
  • Liberalisation 2.0
    Claude Turmes, MEP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
  • Efficiency vs. flexibility
    Monica Frassoni, President Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • There is no ‚Union‘ without sustainability
    Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy BirdLife Europe




Good Practice of the Year
Award Ceremony

  • Priorities 2015
    Marie C. Donnelly, Director for new and renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency and innovation at the European Commission
  • Award procedure and evaluation criteria
    Patrick Oelze, Certified Auditor MAZARS


Christoph Bals

Christoph Bals, Policy Director Germanwatch

Christoph Bals is the Policy Director of the environmental and development organization Germanwatch. In 1991 he was a founding member of this NGO and has been engaged since then in the politics of climate and development. He is a board member of the „Stiftung Zukunftsfaehigkeit“ (Foundation for Sustainability), the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) which is pushing for insurance for the people of developing countries against climate risks, and the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI). Bals studied theology, economics and philosophy in Munich, Belfast, Erfurt and Bamberg.

Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife Europe

Based in Brussels, Ariel Brunner is Head of EU Policy with the environmental NGO BirdLife Europe. He coordinates work on a wide range of EU policies ranging from nature and biodiversity conservation, to budget, energy, fisheries and agriculture. Over the last decade he has been very active in debates over the sustainability of renewable energy and in particular of bioenergy where he has been one of the pioneers in criticising EU support to biofuels. He has been involved in numerous studies, policy developments and political processes linked to the EU Renewable Energy Directives, the sustainability criteria for biofuels, the Indirect Land Use Change controversy etc.
Before moving to Brussels he was following the implementation of EU nature conservation legislation in Italy and has been instrumental to the designation of the country’s Special Protection Areas network (sites protected under the EU Wild Birds Directive). He has been involved in species conservation projects, legal battles for the conservation of protected sites and in efforts to improve implementations of hunting legislation.
Born in Israel, he holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences at Milan University.

Ivana d’Alessandro, Secretary of the Bern Convention, Council of Europe

Ivana d’Alessandro holds a degree in international law and a Master in Human rights; she is working at the Council of Europe since 2004 and has integrated the Directorate of Democratic Governance, to serve in the Biodiversity Unit in 2009. In 2010 she was appointed Secretary of the Bern Convention and she is also heading the Biodiversity Unit since 2013.

Marie Donnelly, Director for New and Renewable Sources of Energy,Energy Efficiency and Innovation at DG Energy, European Commission

Within the Directorate General for Energy, Marie Donnelly is responsible for the development of policies and actions on energy efficiency and renewable energy, the coordination of research activities in the field of energy as well as actions aiming at supporting the achievement of the 20-20-20 targets. Previously, she worked with the European Commission, in the Employment and Social Affairs Directorate General as Director for Resources and Communication.

Monica Frassoni, President of the Energy Efficiency Alliance

Monica Frassoni is an Italian politician and Member of the European Parliament from 1999 until 2009, when she was also co-chair of the European Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament. Previously she served for 10 years as an officer of the Greens group in the European Parliament and was Secretary General of the Young European Federalists. In late 2010, Frassoni took up the role of President of the European Alliance to Save Energy, a business organization dedicated to promoting energy efficiency across Europe. Furthermore, she currently serves as Co-President of the European Green Party.

Tor Eigil Hodne, Senior Vice President for European Affairs Statnett

Tor Eigil Hodne is currently the Senior Vice President for European Affairs in Statnett. He holds a master degree in political science (cand. polit.) from the University of Oslo and the University of Århus, Denmark, and has worked extensively with research and internet policies, both in Norway and internationally. From 2000 to 2005 he worked for the European Commission in Luxembourg. From 2005 to 2010, Hodne was responsible for research, education and culture at the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in Brussels. He started up the Statnett Brussels office in September 2010 and is currently heading this office. He also was a board member of the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) 2012 – 2014.

James P. McDougall, CEO of Younicos

James P. McDougall is Chief Executive Officer at Younicos, a global industry leader for intelligent grid and storage solutions with almost 100 MW installed storage capacity worldwide. James is an industry veteran and entrepreneur with global experience commercializing new technologies and positioning companies for rapid growth. During the last 25 years he has held several senior management positions and CEO assignments in North America, Asia and Europe. James has also co-authored several patents.

Patrick Oelze, Certified Auditor and Certified Tax Advisor MAZARS

Patrick is a Certified Auditor and Certified Tax Advisor in Germany and holds a university degree in Business Economics. After university he worked several years with PwC before he joined MAZARS in 2006. In his role as the signing CPA he is responsible for the audit of several companies in the utilities and manufacturing sector in Germany. Besides audit and advisory, he brings his particular expertise in utilities and renewables to seminars and lectures.

Pierre Schellekens, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Arias Cañete

Pierre Schellekens joined the European Commission in 1996 and is currently Deputy Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Arias Cañete, responsible for Energy and Climate Action. Previous to this, Mr Schellekens has been the Head of the Commission Representation in Sweden, Head of Unit in DG Agriculture and in DG Maritime Affairs. Mr. Schellekens was also the deputy Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Environment, Stavros Dimas, from 2004 to 2008 and member of Commissioner Wallström’s Cabinet during the firsthalf of 2004. Mr. Schellekens is a Swedish national and holds a Master’s Degree in Politics and Administration from the College of Europe (Bruges) as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Göteborg.

Boris Schucht, CEO 50Hertz

Boris Schucht, has been Chief Executive Officer of 50Hertz since 2010. He previously worked as Commercial Managing Director at WEMAG AG in Schwerin and held the position of Managing Director of Vattenfall Europe Venture GmbH in Berlin for five years. Additionally, Boris Schucht had, as Deputy Department Head, responsibility for Corporate Development at Vattenfall Europe AG. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the RWTH Aachen and is a member of the Assembly of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).

Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission

Maroš Šefčovič is a Slovak career diplomat and since 1 November 2014 Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union. In this capacity, he leads the „Energy Union“ Project Team within the Commission which comprises of 14 commissioners.
From 2010 – 2014 he was Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration. In 2009-2010, he was European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth. From 2004 -2009, he was the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the European Union. As diplomat by profession he served between 1992 and 2004 in Zimbabwe and Canada and as Ambassador to Israel.
He graduated from the University of Economy in Bratislava and the Moscow State Institute for Foreign Relations. He holds a degree as Doctor of Law and a PhD of European Law from the Comenius University, Faculty of Law, Bratislava. He also studied at Stanford University, USA.

Claude Turmes, MEP, Group of the Greens/ European Free Alliance

Claude Turmes has been Member of the European Parliament since 1999, where he served as vice-president of the Green Group from 2002 until 2014. Energy policy is one of his main focuses: he is member of the ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) committee, coordinator on energy issues for the Green Roup, and was rapporteur of the Directive on Renewable Energies and the Energy Efficiency Directive.
Before his mandate, Turmes worked for the NGO Friends of the Earth in Luxemburg on climate change, energy and the WTO. He studied sports studies at the Universtiy of Louvain la Neuve in Belgium.

Ben Voorhorst, COO of TenneT

Ben Voorhorst (1959) is COO of TenneT Holding B.V. and managing director of TenneT TSO B.V. in The Netherlands. In the past Ben Voorhorst held various management positions within TenneT and occupied various management positions in the software industry. Besides his position at TenneT he is also a member of the Board of the Dutch association Netbeheer Nederland, a member of the Board of the Netherlands Association for Energy Data Exchange (Nedu), a member of the Board of ENTSO-E, a member of the Supervisory Board of NOVEC B.V. and a member of the Supervisory Board of EPEX SPOT SE. Ben Voorhorst is a member of the Dutch National Cyber Security Council and represents the critical infrastructure sector. The Dutch National Cyber Security Council is installed to advise government and the private sector on relevant developments in the cyber security field.

Sir Graham Watson, President of The Climate Parliament

Sir Graham Watson is the Honorary President and co-founder of The Climate Parliament (www.climateparl.net), a global network of legislators working to speed up the switch from fossil fuels to renewables energies. An interpreter by training, his career has spanned the public and private sectors and for twenty years (1994-2004) he was a Member of the European Parliament. He now works as a freelance consultant through his company Bagehot Ltd.

Roberto Zangrandi, Special Advisor EDSO

Roberto Zangrandi, Special Adviser with EDSO for Smart Grids, has run the European Public Affairs office in Bussels for Enel between 2007 and 2014. Previously with Enel has been Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Identity and Image, Corporate Communication Plans. In his background 12 years with Fiat (Director of External Relations in Frankfurt and Head of International Media Relations) and 15 years as economic and financial journalist (last position, chief editor with Il Mondo, in Italy) are to be found. In addition he worked as oragnisational communication expert for a consulting company over some years. He studied Political Sciences and Sociology and held (2005-2007) a postgraduate professorship in Public Relations at Udine University.

Impressions of the Day