By: Giorgia Concas, General Secretary
This past year has been a very significant year for electrical contractors across Europe and AIE. From a new secretariat and initiatives at AIE, to a wave of new legislation that will boost the sector - the electrical contracting sector has never been growing and changing at such a rapid rate. Let’s take a look at what happened in 2018 for electrical contractors, and look to see what is in store for the year to come.
To begin, early last year AIE moved its Secretariat to the heart of Brussels. With a new team and a fresh perspective, AIE hit the ground running this year with plans to bring more visibility and authority to the sector. The association also benefitted from the guidance of a new President and Board, working together with them to fulfill the needs of the industry and our members.
In transport, AIE became a much more powerful voice in regards to transport electrification. Joining the Platform for Electromobility in the spring, the association and its working groups have strived to bring the expertise and skills of electrical contractors into the spotlight. Providing recommendations on the implementation of the European Performance of Building Directive, AIE stressed the need to build the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging points today, in order to be able to support the demand of electric vehicles of tomorrow. On top of this, AIE released a first of its kind report that highlighted the job potential of transport electrification to boost local economies.
AIE also became more involved last year in building Europe’s future energy system. The technical working group provided its expertise to the new chapter on decentralised solar installations in SolarPower Europe’s third edition of their O&M Best Practices Guidelines. AIE also held an exclusive webinar on this topic, with experts in the solar and electrical sectors discussing how to best operate and maintain solar for a sustainable and consumer-driven energy system. AIE also contributed to a webinar about storage markets in Europe, giving the perspective of installers who are on the ground installing these innovative technologies.
At the Installers’ Summit in Stockholm, we did a deep dive into the topic of digitalisation from both a technology and a business perspective. Technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), smart energy management systems, and Building Automation Controls (BACs) bringing the work of electrical contractors into the digital age. On top of this, digital solutions such as e-commerce platforms and digitalised worker management systems are changing the way electrical contractors build and operate their businesses. Ultimately, digitalisation offers great benefits for the electrical contractor who stays on the cutting edge as it opens the door to a world of new business opportunities like never before.
So as 2018 has now come to an end, we would like to thank everyone who supported AIE as we grow as an association and give a greater voice to electrical contractors across Europe. While this past year has been full of changes, AIE has plenty more surprises in store for 2019!
In the final week before policy makers left Brussels to go off on their Christmas holidays, negotiators from the European Parliament and Council agreed on a deal to cut carbon emissions of cars and vans by 37.5% by 2030. This means that one third of new cars in 2030 will be electric or hydrogen powered. While this is welcomed by environmental and consumer groups, car manufacturers have expressed their concern about the loss of jobs that such a rapid switch over to electric and other low-carbon vehicles would incur.
On the 29 November 2018, AIE released a study which showed that in reality, job gains would be much more significant than job losses. In fact, by 2030, electric vehicles could create over 200,000 jobs along the electrical and new automotive value chains – this is more than twice the number that would be lost in car manufacturing.
This study takes into account all the new pars of the automotive value chain needed to power the EV revolution including: battery and charger manufacturing, installation, operation and maintenance of recharging points, grid connection and reinforcement and increased electricity generation.
The jobs that will be created will be primarily for electrical contractors, which will be a significant driver for local economic growth considering that over 90% of electrical contracting companies are small and medium-sized enterprises. This means that while the switch to electric vehicles will be good for the environment and health of Europeans, it will also be a major business opportunity for local companies to generate local, green, highly skilled jobs.
While the deal reached by the EU negotiators in December looks to boost the uptake of electric cars and vans, deeper transport electrification is still on the table with a deal to be reached also on trucks as well as looking into buses and ships. This means that we are only just seeing the beginning of the job potential for electromobility, and the EU should therefore not be worried by the concerns expressed by car manufacturers and continue to push ambition for transport electrification.
Read the full study here
On the 28 November 2018, the European Commission published the long awaited low-carbon roadmap entitled “A Clean Planet for all: A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy”.
This document outlines eight scenarios to minimise greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2050 and contribute to the Paris agreement goal of holding global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
One thing that is clear throughout all the scenarios is that electricity will need to play an increasingly important role in Europe’s energy system in order to achieve this goal. In fact, electricity in final energy demand will at least double from today’s levels, bringing it up to 53%.
For electrical contractors, more electricity means that they will be key in Europe’s future decarbonised energy system.
Three sectors that are crucial to be decarbonised are energy production, buildings, and transport, which contribute to the bulk of the EU’s GHG emissions. Yet, possibilities to electrify these sectors are already available and will significantly decrease their carbon footprint.
With more renewable energy being installed everyday, electrification becomes the lowest carbon option to power our everyday lives. More and more consumers are interested in installing rooftop solar or parallel storage systems in their homes to reduce their carbon emissions while saving money on their energy bill – it really is a win-win situation.
In the building sector, electrification means smarter energy management systems. Through solutions such as smart meters, consumers are able to see how much energy they consume and when so that they are able to automatise their energy consumption. With automation, consumers are only consuming energy where and when they need it and therefore reducing demand.
Finally, the transport sector has seen a rise of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in Europe. While this electrification is primarily in passenger vehicles, many Member States are also electrifying buses, ships, and trucks.
Now, what do these three sectors all have in common? Electrical contractors on the ground designing, installing, operating and maintaining the technologies and infrastructure necessary to decarbonise the sectors and contribute to a cleaner Europe.
This is not only good for the environment and health of Europeans, but as electrical contractors are primarily small to medium local business, a growth of demand in the services of electrical contractors means new jobs and business opportunities for communities across Europe.
Through their expertise and hard work, electrical contractors are undeniably helping to build a strong low-carbon European economy.
In the final weeks of 2018, the EU wrapped up the last item needed to complete the Clean Energy For All Europeans Package by reaching an agreement on the much contested Electricity Market Design after two intense years of negotiation.
This legislation sets up common rules for the electricity sector, and is key for establishing consumer rights and clear roles and responsibilities for grid operations and regulatory authorities. The obstacle in this piece of legislation was how to create a framework that would be able account for an uptake of renewable energy while maintaining a competitive and sustainable market.
Although there were many concerns from the clean energy sector about the proposed Directive, stakeholders rallied together to form the Small is Beautiful campaign urging policy makers to create an electricity market that empowers consumers to actively participate in the energy transition. As a member of this campaign, AIE welcomes the agreed legislation as it paves the way for a decentralised and green energy system, providing countless jobs for electrical contractors along the way.
Provisions such as the right of consumers to produce, store, consume and sell renewable energy, both individually or as a community, will be a game changer in Europe’s electricity system and will usher in a wave of clean energy technologies. Consumers also have the right to have a smart meter as well as the possibility to download their metering data and transmit it to authorised parties and conclude a dynamic electricity price contract. It is clear that with this Directive, the EU is putting the power back into the hands of the people.
On top of this, the new Market Design establishes market and grid rules that will be proportionate to small-scale renewable energy producers, thereby levelling the playing field for small-scale producers. This is crucial to incentivise consumers to become small-scale energy producers and speed up the energy transition.
Following agreements of other pieces of legislation part of the Clean Energy Package, such as the Renewable Energy Directive, Energy Efficiency Directive, Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, and Energy Governance, the new electricity Market Design brings all of these together and will be a major tool to help Europeans build a clean and prosperous energy system.
On the 6 December 2018 in London, Luke Osborne, from AIE’s UK member ECA, represented AIE at SolarPower Europe’s annual O&M and Asset Management conference. Osborne provided insights into the installers’ perspective on operating and maintain small-scale solar. With rooftop solar, many people go down the path of ‘DIY’, but this is a huge issue from a safety and long-term sustainability perspective. Professionalisation of rooftop solar O&M is crucial to support a growing fleet of decentralized solar that is powering the homes of many Europeans. As electrical contractors are the ones installing the solar panels, it is also becoming increasingly their responsibility to also operate and maintain. This provides exciting new business opportunities for electrical contractors and allows them to contribute to a low-carbon Europe.
This panel discussion follows AIE’s contribution to the third edition of SolarPower Europe’s O&M Best Practices Guidelines, available here
On 11 December 2018 our Secretary General Giorgia Concas spoke at the annual conference of the Italian solar PV association (ItaliaSolare) in Rome. Participation from more than 300 sector representatives shows that the Italian solar market may start thriving again in the near future, after a few years of stagnation. Giorgia’s contribution focused on the bright perspectives for the sector provided by European legislation that is currently being adopted in the energy and transport areas. In Italy, as in many other EU countries, solar PV will be part of new ecosystems based on clean and digital technologies, such as smart home and e-mobility solutions. Solar, complemented by other technologies, will provide economic benefits for consumers and will support the electricity system and local grids.
- EU News: Commission welcomes political agreement on conclusion of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package
- POLITICO: 5 takeaways from the COP24 global climate summit
- Financial Times: Building materials group warns of ‘increasingly challenging’ conditions in Britain
- Euractiv: EU’s electricity market revamp hailed as ‘game-changer’ for clean energy
- EU News: State aid: Commission approves reductions in renewable electricity and cogeneration surcharges for energy-intensive companies in Greece
- ECA: Government announces solar export plans
- Installatörsföretagen: Here are the new laws that you should keep track of
- NELFO: Five million for Wi-Fi in the municipalities
- STUL: Charging points needed to keep up with the pace of electric car penetration
- ZVEH: Fiber optic expansion - cooperation between ZVEH and Deutsche Glasfaser Holding GMBH
Upcoming European Events
6-7 March 2019 I Brussels, Belgium
Europe is back in solar business ! With the agreed EU 32% renewable energy target by 2030 and the end of the solar trade measures, we are on the cusp of a new solar boom in Europe. SolarPower Europe’s latest forecast shows strong market growth in Europe in 2018, with solar demand growing over 60% this year! The energy landscape in Europe is moving fast, shaped by ever falling technology costs, breakthrough innovations, as well as national and international policy developments. Has the European Union succeeded in bringing its energy transition to the next level, and will it become a global leader in solar again? Will solar energy thrive in a subsidy free era and how can you capture the enormous opportunities that lie ahead? Join us on the 6-7th of March to get the latest strategic, political and market intelligence shaping the future of solar in Europe! The SolarPower Summit is SolarPower Europe’s annual flagship event. It takes place for two days and brings together over 300 industry representatives from all major energy players, as well as SMEs and a range of decision makers from across the EU and beyond, and is recognised as one of the most important energy events in Brussels.
AIE Members receive an exclusive discount for this exciting event - contact Giorgia Concas to learn more.
24-25 September 2019 I Helsinki, Finland
Registration to the summit is now open! Super Early Bird fee is available until the end of March for 100 first registrations. So act now and register for only 399 EUR (+ VAT 24 %). From the beginning of April the registration fee will be 599 EUR (+ VAT 24 %). Take advantage of the Super Early Bird fee and register for the event here.
Call for presentations now open - World Summit on Digital Built Environment WDBE 2019 will showcase the best digital ideas and individuals improving the built environment - from incremental steps to revolutionary leaps.
- Oral presentation
- User Experience
- Leading Transformation
- Enabling Technologies
- Ecosystems and Business Models
- Data, Learning, Knowledge, Adaptability
- Public Sector as Enabling Partner
- Country Reports - The Big Picture
Deadline for submissions is 15 March 2019.
Upcoming AIE Events
12 February 2019 I Management Committee Meeting
12 February 2019 I Board Meeting
13 February 2019 I General Secretaries Meeting
13 February 2019 I BIM Working Group Meeting
21 May 2019 I Technical Working Group Meeting
22 May 2019 I Policy Working Group Meeting
European Association of Electrical Contractors - The Voice of Electrical Contractors in Europe
Who we are:
For over 60 years, the European Association for Electrical Contractors (AIE) has represented the interests of electrical contractors from 15 different countries at the EU-level. The AIE works as a network to exchange information and best practices for electrical contractors between its members and to inform policy makers to ensure all electricity is installed safely and efficiently in Europe.