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The Energy systems Implementation Working Group was set up as the arm of countries involved in the Set Plan. It aims to identify and carry out the research, innovation and deployment actions needed to achieve SET Plan Action 4: ‘Increase the resilience and security of the energy system’.  Action 4 is based on a set of common targets agreed in November 2016. It is supported by the ETIP smart networks for energy transition (SNET) and European Research Area Network for Smart Energy Systems (ERA-NET SES). 

In November 2018, the working group produced an implementation plan (IP) for energy systems including activities which will contribute substantially to the EU Green Dealwhich referenced in particular to the European energy system integration trategyThe implementation plan was updated in 2020.   

The activities of working group foster several of the energy system integration strategy’s pillars, with special attention to: 

  • accelerating the electrification of energy demand, building on a largely renewables-based power system 
  • making energy markets fit for decarbonisation and distributed resources 
  • achieving a more integrated energy infrastructure 
  • achieving a digitalised energy system and a supportive innovation framework. 

Targets and objectives

The flexible use of resources within the energy system is crucial in order to: 

  • respond to the variability and uncertainty of renewable generation and loads 
  • adapt to different possible energy scenarios, potentially by climate change.  


 The required flexibility can be achieved by: 

  • using innovative technologies that increase customer participation 
  • integrating better storage 
  • making best use of connections between electricity grids at all voltage levels and other networks (e.g. gas, heat & cold, transport) 
  • optimising the use of flexible sustainable combined power and heat generation.


The implementation of smart and integrated energy systems is a technological practice as well as a social, cultural, commercial, regulatory and political practice where cooperation and coordination are pivotal ingredients. 

Existing strategic targets: 

1. Establish innovation and co-creation environments to develop smart services 

2. Flexibility of the system by 2030: 

  • increase observability and controllability in the energy system to at least the same level as would be achievable by equipping 80% of the high voltage and medium voltage substations and 25% of low voltage substations with remotely accessible monitoring and control devices 
  • manage the load profile by demand response and control to optimise the use of the grid and defer grid investments, enabling load modulation capabilities to ensure peak load reductions at system level of 25% with respect to ENTSOe’s projections in its Ten-year network development plan (TYNDP) 2016 scenario 
  • Develop and implement solutions to increase flexibility of all types of generation (renewables and thermal power plants) in order to enable variable renewable energy to contribute to the system’s stability and efficiency, and to improve the flexibility capabilities of thermal power plants, in terms of minimum technical load, ramping rates and efficiency in all working systems 
  • Reduce the cost of all energy storage solutions by helping minimise the overall system costs; short-term storage should reduce the specific storage costs by at least 50% to 70%. 

3. Develop heating and cooling systems that can locally integrate energy from different sources of different temperature levels: low temperature and flexible district heating systems 

4. Develop innovative solutions to reduce variability by combining multiple low carbon solutions (e.g. wind, solar, renewable heat production combined with energy storage), integrating renewables at local and regional levels, linking different energy domains (electricity, heat/cold, gas, mobility) at different scales while considering system, market and organisational aspects. 


To reach the above targets, 2 flagship initiatives were implemented, around which the IP is developed: 

  • Flagship Initiative 1: Develop an optimised European power grid: 
    • This would enable the appropriate level of reliability, resilience and economic efficiency, while integrating variable renewables, such as wind and solar generation by providing increased flexibility thanks to innovative technologies. As a result, this would: 
    • increase customer participation 
    • integrate better storage 
    • optimise connections with other networks (e.g. heat&cold, transport) 
    • optimise the use of flexible sustainable combined power and heat generation.


  • Flagship Initiative 2: Develop integrated local and regional energy systems: 
    • These systems would make it possible to efficiently provide, host and utilise high shares of renewables, up to and beyond 100% in the local or regional energy supply by 2030. This would enable regions and local communities to achieve their high sustainable energy ambitions. They should provide tailor-made solutions that meet the local and regional requirements and demand. At the same time, they should link to a secure and resilient European energy system, enabling their participation in inter-regional exchange of energy as well as in sharing responsibility to maintain the overall system. This results in a sustainable use of local and global resources. 


The working group on energy systems is co-chaired by Austria and Italy and includes 13 other European countries. It is supported by the ETIP smart networks for energy transition (SNET) and European Research Area Network for Smart Energy Systems (ERA-NET SES)

Participating countries (in alphabetical order): 

Austria (Co-Chair)
Italy (Co-Chair)
Norway (associated country)
Turkey (associated country)



Factsheet12 May 2021
Factsheet energy systems 2020
Strategic plan21 April 2021
Implementation plan on energy systems
Factsheet21 April 2021
Factsheet on smart energy systems 2019

Relevant links

All IWG 4 material is available on the ERANet smart energy systems platform

Contact point

IWG co-Chairs: 

Michele de Nigris, michele [dot] denigrisatrse-web [dot] it (michele[dot]denigris[at]rse-web[dot]it) 

Michael Huebner, Michael [dot] Huebneratbmk [dot] gv [dot] at (Michael[dot]Huebner[at]bmk[dot]gv[dot]at)