On 7th December 2021, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) jointly hosted a hybrid conference entitled "Optimising Energy and Empowering Nature", co-organised with ENTSO-E. The conference aimed to disseminate sound solutions for a renewable-based energy system that contributes to nature conservation, while swiftly advancing the energy transition. While the accelerated need for RES and infrastructure implies a massive deployment of resources, energy system optimisation with sound, collaborative spatial and energy planning, can unlock a cost-effective and future-proof decarbonisation pathway, which holds nature restoration and societal welfare at its centre.
The PAC project was naturally brought into the discussion, showcasing the PAC scenario and stressing exactly this need. In the panel entitled "Pathways to the future: Planning energy in harmony with biodiversity standards", Gerhard Salge, CTO at Hitachi Energy, presented the initial modelling results underpinned with the PAC scenario, that served as an input to further discussion about the need to address the double crisis of climate change and biodiversity and understand how to optimise energy infrastructure via innovative technologies and approaches and solid planning. To achieve that, a holistic view of the entire energy system, with synergies across space, time and actors, should be at the forefront, tackling inefficiencies and resource scarcity. These and other aspects will be discussed at the Modellers' Exchange Workshop co-organised by RGI and Hitachi Energy that will take place on 2 February 2022.