(by Giacomo Mantero)
When talking about SEU (Efficient Consumption Systems) it often seems like a futuristic model that will have great spread. This statement is certainly acceptable but limiting because SEU not only will develop in the near future but they also did in the past!
Let me explain better. By definition, SEU are: “systems in which a electricity production source [...], powered by renewable sources or by high efficient cogeneration [...], is directly connected, by means of a private link [...], to the system for the consumption of a single end user, also corresponding to the producer [...]”. Thus, everyone who produced energy from a photovoltaic system in the last 10 years can be considered a SEU!
The introduction of these definition is mainly due to an authority need to classify and control the phenomenon of distributed generation. An energy paradigm increasingly based on small decentralized producers instead of large centralized plants forced the authority to revolutionize all the national energetic and economic flows.
On the energy side, the national power grid needs to be always balanced: what is produced needs to be consumed simultaneously. This year in Italy we have produced about 21 TWh of electric energy (7% of the total) from renewable plants delocalized that can be classified as SEU and this amount is going to increase in the next years. The national network operators have to be able to check, and if necessary block in case of unbalance (remote disconnection), these new energy inputs in the network. A clear definition will allow a better management of the situation.
On the economic side, the excessive spread of renewable and distributed generation could drive up costs for consumers: in fact, the incentives for renewable are paid thanks to the bills of those who take the energy from the grid. Right now, if I have a plant supplied by the electricity I produce, I would not pay any charge. Charges that, instead, are paid by those that do not use the incentives! This is the reason why the government introduced the Spread-incentives system by charging a fee to be paid from those who self produce energy.
The legislation seems to arise mainly for logistical needs, but it has innovative tools. It makes it possible to create new plants without incentives: an investor can pay the costs of installing a system of on-site generation to an end customer; then, it sells the energy produced at a reduced price. Through a private contract, the savings generated will be divided between the investor and the end customer. This will be greater as it will be the higher the percentage of consumption: instead of financing mega PV or wind parks to take advantage of incentives, we will be pushed to the development of “ad hoc” systems for the customer, optimizing production and consumption.
Hopefully the legislation clarity will further facilitate the spread of these business models, attracting the attention of financiers. After 5 years of waiting, fingers crossed and hoping that the GSE at Christmas will a bit nicer, this clarity seems to be around the corner.