European Union meets African Union to exchange experiences

HCL’s EU TAF Team for East and Southern Africa organised a series of sessions in Brussels, bringing together the Infrastructure and Energy Department (IED) of the African Union Commission (AUC) and EU Institutions & Energy Sector Associations, in a series of technical meetings dedicated to “Exchange of Experiences”.

The technical meetings took place over two dates, from 20 – 21 November 2017, and gathered more than 30 participants including AUC officials, representatives from DG DEVCO, DG ENER and the energy sector associations, as well as HCL’s EU-TAF Key experts and Assignments experts. Visited institutions include the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER), the European Distribution System Operator’s Association for Smartgrids (EDSO). Throughout the meetings, of particular interest was the ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package, aiming to facilitate the clean energy transition through creation of the Energy Union – reforming the energy sector in the European Union and its Member States.

Meeting at the EC – joint session by DG DEVCO & DG ENER. Head of Unit of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Unit, Mr. Felice Zaccheo, delivered opening remarks and AUC Director of the Energy Division, Mr. Rashid Ali Abdallah, highlighted importance to further strengthen EU-AUC know-how transfer.

Topics included:
International Electricity Markets – ENTSO-E introduced the Officials from the African Union Commission (AUC) to the European economic integration process.
Investing in Africa from a private sector perspective – Representing the private sector and focusing on gaps to address in the enabling environment, the Alliance for Rural Electrification presented its contribution on policy and regulation, raising awareness, investment and finance, and private sector participation – focusing on market access, technology transfer, and market information.
Energy regulators – The role/mandate of the National Energy Regulators in the EU context were discussed, along with future plans to further enhance their role in implementing the EU policies in the energy sector.
Modalities for mini-grids investments deployment – The high importance of de-risking was a topic that sparked interest, and discussions evolved around how this can be accomplished in multiple axes: from financial interventions, stability and reliability of policies, to standardization of Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) and of tariff methodologies, as well as exit strategies for the investor if the main grid arrives at the location.
Smart grids – A session with the European Distribution System Operator’s Association for Smartgrids (EDSO) provided insight into the structure, areas of activity as well as the approach and recommendations made at key issues pertaining to EDSO’s activities, such as the creation of one single electricity entity and establishment of Local Energy Communities. Discussions focused on transferring smart-grid knowledge to both central and off-grid mini-grids in Africa for leapfrogging.
EU-AUC Energy cooperation – During a joint session hosted by DG DEVCO at the European Commission premises, DG ENERGY presented the evolution of the EU’s energy policy towards an Energy Union. Other topics covered included energy efficiency and digitalisation technologies.

The joint session also provided a recap of completed and ongoing support provided to AUC through the TAF, with emphasis on the Strategy and Action Plans to harmonise the electricity markets, now endorsed by the Heads of State, which are seen as reference documents to guide the process of harmonisation across Africa.

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