AIE has been involved in the Forum for European Electrical Domestic Safety (FEEDS) since its creation in order to ensure that, while promoting electrification, electrical safety is still at the center of the debate.
We are happy to announce that AIE and the European Copper Institute will be joining forces for a first ever conference on electrical safety. During the European Fire Safety Week in November, we will co-host this event in order to spread information about the need for more prevention. We will examine the measures aimed at avoiding electrical incidents in place across Europe, highlight best practices, and present the latest statistics on electrical safety and worst-case scenarios such as fires.
Electrical safety must be a priority, because, when overlooked, it can lead to fire. This concern is all the more urgent as we have increasingly been relying on electricity, a trend that is only going up.
The applications of electricity have improved our comfort and safety, multiplying the means of entertaining and communicating. However, domestic electricity can be dangerous. Specifically, the safety of older electrical installations is a concern in the countries of the European Union, given the low renovation rate of dwellings and their electrical installations. At the same time, the uses of domestic electricity continue to diversify and develop, progressively posing increasingly important challenges in terms of quality and safety of electrical energy used in households.
It is easy to imagine that a home with an outdated electrical installation could struggle to safely integrate the challenges posed by modern lifestyles:
- Europe’s population is ageing rapidly. Thanks to technological assistance (electric stair lifts, remote doctor consultation, safety alarms, et cetera) an increasing number of people can remain in their homes to a much higher age. These technologies create an extra challenge for the electrical installations in what are often old houses.
- The generation of local electricity through PV panels has become popular in many EU countries. This radically changes the concept of the residential electrical installation, introducing new hazards and in the process demanding new safety requirements.
- Residential heating and private vehicle transport, which have in the past relied primarily upon fossil fuels, are expected to gradually be electrified in the coming decade. Heat pumps and electric vehicle chargers will come on top of the regular growth of electrical applications in our homes. Those new applications strongly increase the load connected to the residential electrical installation, demanding an increased emphasis on electrical safety.
The safety deficiencies of obsolete electrical installations generally result from the aging of their components, the lack of maintenance and inappropriate usage. The dangers they represent are also clearly identified. The risks of electrification and electrocution are well known, but fires of electrical origin and their consequences are the most worrying.
It is estimated—in European countries that have statistics on the matter—that electrical fires account for 20 to 30% of all domestic fires. A projection, based on available data, makes it possible to estimate that 280,000 fires of electrical origin would occur every year in the European Union countries. Their consequences are dramatic in terms of deaths and injuries, but also in terms of economic costs for the community.
European Union countries therefore face a major challenge in regard to domestic electrical safety, especially as, in practice, the number of hazardous installations is expected to continue to rise if nothing is done. In response to this, models of cooperation have emerged in some countries. The effectiveness of the resulting solutions is still subject to an important preliminary step: to improve the statistical knowledge on the state of the old domestic electrical installations and their consequences, particularly in terms of fires. Out of such knowledge, suitable solutions can then be proposed.
At AIE, we are looking forward to this event, to the newest up-to-date statistics, and to contribute to making European homes safer.
Stay tuned for speakers and agenda points.
Now that the EU has provided for the right for citizens to self-consume the electricity they produce at home, we want to investigate the way this can and is done collectively across Europe. This series of webinars is aimed at highlighting well-functioning rules and systems that allow for collective self-consumption existing in European countries.
AIE already held a webinar recently on existing collective self-consumption schemes in Germany, Greece and Switzerland, and we are pleased to see that self-consumption can be extended to multi-occupancy residences and to wider communities. Clearly, all presented schemes are an interesting starting point, but so far, due to low returns on investments and regulatory or administrative restrictions, they have resulted in few projects.
In Germany, the collective self-consumption scheme is called Mieterstrom. It allows tenants living in a multi-apartment building to share all the electricity produced from a rooftop PV system of maximum 100 kw. So far, 12 MW PV systems have been installed under this scheme. For this number to increase, the solar sector would like the scheme to be simplified. Tenants should not be obliged to do complex billing arrangements to calculate their individual savings obtained from consumed electricity from the PV system. Further, the sector would also like extending both the size of the PV systems allowed under this scheme and the perimeter, which would allow covering adjacent buildings as well.
For Switzerland, the most interesting scheme is called Zusammenschluss zum Eigenverbraunch (self-consumption consortium). This scheme allows the geographical perimeter to be larger than in Germany, meaning multiple buildings can be involved, provided they are located within the same connection point to the public grid. Moreover, they can be occupied by both the owner and tenants which is not allowed in Germany. Finally, there is no cap on the maximum size of the PV system. However, the financial constraints applied to projects under this scheme only guarantee a return on investment of around 2%, which is why only 20 MW worth of projects have been installed so far.
In Greece, no collective self-consumption scheme is in place. However, there is “virtual net-metering”. This scheme allows different buildings, not necessarily adjacent to one another and owned or occupied by different entities or people, to virtually share the electricity produced on one roof. In practice, the excess electricity produced on one roof can be netted from the electricity bill of other consumers having joined a so-called “energy community” with the entity located under the roof equipped with PV. With the larger geographical scope for this scheme, where projects can reach up to 1 MWp, one would expect this scheme to be successful, but it has unfortunately only resulted in a few systems, mainly due to burdensome administrative procedures.
More webinars will follow with new case studies.
A few weeks ago, in May, AIE’s Secretary General traveled to Munich to attend ‘the Smarter E’, an annual trade show dedicated to all topics concerning the new energy world. Until recently, the fair was limited to ‘Intersolar’ featuring only solar and PV technologies. However, with the tremendous growth the renewable energy market has experienced, the fair has expanded to incorporate more technologies, covering the trends towards digitalization and decentralization.
Indeed, this was the place to learn about the latest innovative solutions for energy efficiency. Whether it was about photovoltaics, with new mounting systems that allow to maximize space, or electric vehicles, with all-in-one solar carports and solar charge points, or even plug-and-play smart home and BACS solutions, it is obvious that our future lifestyles will feature more renewables.
What was clear from this trend of innovation is that our installers will be increasingly necessary in the years to come. As we have heard from our German member association, ZVEH, energy services, digitalization and electromobility already fill the order books. The future for installers looks bright as this market is still expanding rapidly. And because we will all be relying on these technologies on a daily basis in the future, we need the appropriate workforce to install and maintain this equipment.
Further, as electrical installers do home visits, they are closely in touch with the clients and are in a unique position to act as a link between the manufacturers and the consumers. There could be a case for more collaboration between the different actors of this value chain. Electricians can use their position to promote the best available solutions tailored to the consumer's house and provide feedback up the value chain to manufacturers and distributers about their products. And manufacturers could provide the installers with the training necessary to best understand the available solutions. A symbiotic relationship could emerge between the different actors of this value chain and the industry would be able to adapt to consumer preference, leading to more prosperity for all.
Of course, some producers are already working in close collaboration with electrical installers, but these should not be isolated cases. This type of collaboration should be generalized and almost automatic as we all share this vision of a sustainable and electrified future.
We are very proud to announce that AIE has joined the Climate Action Call! This communications campaign serves to promote a joint Call for Action directed at the new generation of European decision makers. The objective is to channel the momentum for more climate action into the debate on the EU elections and to translate the generic call for more ambition into specific demands.
AIE joined a broad coalition of hundreds of European cities, regions, businesses, youth and faith groups and civil society organizations working on climate, human rights, litigation, mobilization, sports and health, to call upon leaders to profoundly alter the way we run our societies and economies to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. This will not only reduce devastating impacts of climate change but also bring major economic and social benefits, attract new investments, create new quality jobs and limit health damages.
The European Parliament elections and subsequent changes in the leadership of the European Commission will shape the politics of the European Union for the next five years, a crucial period for climate action where emissions need to decline fast, targets need to be strengthened and ambitious action needs to be implemented. The new Parliament and the new Commission must address growing concerns about climate change and make climate action a top priority for Europe.
Therefore, the call urges the new European Parliament, the new European Commission and all EU Member State governments to:
- Commit to accelerate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions as soon as possible.
The world is not on track to keep temperature rise to 1.5°C. The coalition supports the call from United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, upon all leaders to come to his special UN Climate Summit in September with additional commitments that will lead to halving global emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050. By the Summit, EU leaders should agree to reach climate neutrality in line with the EU’s fair share of the effort to achieve net zero global emissions by 2050. Furthermore, EU leaders must agree on a plan to substantially increase its 2030 targets.
- Plan the end of the use of fossil fuels and provide strong support to energy efficiency, renewable energy and emission cuts outside the energy sector
Our economic development no longer depends on fossil fuels. In fact, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies have become cheaper and are more beneficial for all. EU decision makers need to plan to phase out coal, gas and oil use, starting with immediately ending all financial support to fossil fuel infrastructure. At the same time, they need to increase support to research, innovation and deployment of clean alternatives, including through prioritizing energy efficiency across all sectors and investing in sustainable renewable energy. Ambitious climate and energy targets should be complemented by stronger immediate action in all sectors to achieve quick emission cuts.
- Safeguard a just and fair transition and ensure that the EU increases its support to developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change
The zero emissions transition needs to be just, orderly and fair, benefiting everyone and leaving no one behind. This should be done by integrating strong social measures, supportive industrial and business policies and safeguarding workers’ and human rights. Regions that are still highly dependent on fossil fuels, as well as regions highly affected by climate change, such as maritime regions, should be supported in this transition. Europe must also substantially increase its financial and other support for climate action and resilience in developing countries, which are being hardest hit by climate change.
- Increase efforts to roll out the circular economy and increase resource efficiency
We live on a resource-constrained planet where using resources efficiently is necessary for continued prosperity and well-being. The EU should build circularity and resource efficiency into all future policies to facilitate the efforts to decarbonize all economic and industrial sectors.
- Recognize biodiversity protection and ecosystem restoration as a crucial component of climate action
The zero emissions transition cannot happen without substantial investments in the restoration of our ecosystems. This must include efforts to protect and improve the natural capacity of forests and soils to absorb past and present carbon pollution, while promoting sustainable practices, within the EU and beyond our borders.
This year’s AGM will take place in Montreux, Switzerland, on the magnificent lake Léman. AIE has partnered with GCP Europe to organize this event, which will be hosted by member organizations VSEI/USIE and Suissetec. The two-day event will be held on the 17th and 18th of October.
On the 17th, AIE will hold its board meeting in the morning. This will be followed by a visit to a training center known for its excellence in Tolochenaz, a short drive from Montreux. The last item of the day will be the Annual General Meeting. In the evening, the dinner at the famous casino of Montreux will be a great opportunity to mingle with fellow participants from all organizations.
On the 18th, AIE will hold its strategy meeting in the early morning.The program for the rest of the day will be shared with GCP Europe and their participants. First, skills workshops will be organized in the late morning. After lunch, we will have the main conference. For the latter we have come up with an exciting program with compelling sessions:
- A thriving energy installations market: investigating opportunities and challenges for the sector
- Switzerland at a glance: the educational system in the context of (developing) energy policy
- A new energy ecosystem: the future belongs to clean, decentralized technologies!
- How are construction sector innovations and going to impact installers’ businesses?
Finally, to close our event, we will have a gala dinner at the Castle in Montreux.
If you haven’t already, please register here.
- Euractiv: European cities target net-zero carbon buildings by 2050
- Euractiv: Climate becomes top priority in EU’s 2020 budget
- Euractiv: Finland pledges carbon neutrality on eve of EU presidency
- EU Observer: Commission wants capitals to give up energy tax veto
- Politico: The EU’s 7 post-election green priorities