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Luke Osborne represents ECA at EuropeOn policy meetings

ECA's Energy and Emerging Technologies Solutions Advisor, Luke Osborne, speaks on his experience at the EuropeOn policy meetings in Finland in April 2022.

I represented ECA at the first EuropeOn face-to-face Technical and policy meetings since 2019, which was held in Helsinki last month.

EuropeOn represents the electrotechnical associations of Europe and close coupled Nations.  Despite Brexit, it is important ECA attends EuropeOn.  As a body it explores international policy and regulations key to the electrical industry, which often form the basis for similar in the UK.  It is also a great forum for discussing evolving ways and means of doing our work.  Martin Bailey, former President of ECA, is in the first year of his three-year EuropeOn presidency. 

Emerging from the conference was a sense of progression towards decarbonisation with all associations reporting increased interest by their members in low-carbon technologies.

We discussed grid connections and notification of electric vehicle charge points (EVCPs) and heat pumps.  With 14 Distribution Networks Operators (DNOs) in the UK, we find notification of an installation a challenge.  Spare a thought for our German colleagues dealing with over 800 DNOs.  

The Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) is a proposed building metric, ideal for the energy prosumer.  It finds the technical level of a building, how optimised it is for local energy production and storage, automatic ‘smart’ energy controls, and automatic diagnosis and maintenance prediction.  It is proposed that data is captured like an EPC and forms part of a ‘building passport’.

Another topic was the deployment of rooftop solar.  There were surprising differences between what is allowed by nation-states.  These facts will be used to help EuropeOn influence policymakers. 

Enhancing the energy efficiency in existing installations was a hot topic.  In particular, ensuring Building Automation Control Systems (BACS) systems are correctly installed, configured and their efficiencies maintained.  With recent changes in Building Regulations Approved Document L and an enhancement of BACS requirements, this is very relevant in the UK. 

We explored innovative EVCP solutions at Parking Energy, a Finnish company successfully finding solutions to make every parking space ‘EVCP ready’.  Adoption of the Energy Performance Building Directive in Europe, and the UK's recent release of the Building Regulations approved document part S, makes this an interesting development.  

Another issue affecting EVCPs, is insurance.  Increasingly cover depends on the installation of extra fire suppression systems in covered car parks.  There is a risk difference between high-speed DC charging and low power AC charging, due to the increased thermal activity in a battery.  Collectively, members are gathering verifiable data to create a credible proposal. 

A key topic was the Energy Prosumer.  Delegates visited the ‘smartest shopping centre in Europe’, featuring onsite generation, storage and full BACS control.  It was a great demonstration of how technologies are coming together to provide real solutions, offering peak shaving, building and grid support.  Afterwards, the group explored the IEC 60364-8 suite of documents, outlining energy efficiency design, and the operation and function of the ‘prosumer’ concept.  ECA led this subject, highlighting concerns raised by Members on potential complications of the prescribed approach.  It will feature heavily in EuropeOn discussions, so collectively we find the best solutions for our memberships. 

We also learnt about the fire risks and considerations of electrical energy storage systems.  This will help us prepare guidance notes for ECA Members.

Being able to explore how each country is tackling these issues is key for us all to navigate the future ahead of us.  Energy security and costs are hastening the need for decarbonisation.  It is vital that contractors are well informed of developments. 

Last updated 10 June 22