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The Elia Group, one of Europe's top five system operators, has joined forces with Vlerick Business School to establish a Chair that will look closely at the future of the energy landscape, and more specifically the impact on electricity grids. In the near future, the grid operators’ sector will have to face major changes resulting from developments in the field of technology, regulation and market organisation. The Chair will be in place for a five-year period.

The Chair will focus in particular on developing possible future scenarios for power grids and assessing the impact of these scenarios. Creating case studies for educational purposes, conducting an in-depth annual study and organising an annual study day will also be on the programme. There will also be further collaboration on a range of training options, events, workshops, speeches, and so on. Vlerick Business School's expertise will be used to gain insights into the future of transmission system operators and the strategic development of the Elia Group. The knowledge acquired will be shared with Elia Group management and staff, (European) politicians and other (European) stakeholders.

The Chair marks an intensification of the two parties' collaboration. They have previously worked together at the Vlerick Energy Centre, a research institute developing scenarios based on key trends and uncertainties for transmission system operators (TSOs) and distribution system operators (DSOs). Leonardo Meeus, Professor in Energy Markets at Vlerick Business School and a Professor at the Florence School of Regulation, has been appointed to the Chair.

“The energy sector in general, and the electricity transmission business in particular, faces more challenges in the next 10 years than in the last 100,” Professor Meeus explains. “The impact of renewable energy sources is enormous. The sector is seeing a change in product mix, a new relationship between generators, suppliers and consumers and also a renewed role for system operators.”

The 'game changers' for the transmission system sector have been outlined in a recent white paper written by experts from both the transmission system operator and the Vlerick Energy Centre. They include technology, organisational changes, regulation and new unexpected market players. The Elia Group believes that we need to see the winds of innovation blow harder through the electricity market, for just as we have experienced many changes in the last decade, so the actions and decisions taken in the next 10 years will be crucial.

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Elia Group and a supporter of the Chair, underscores the importance of cooperation in this area: “Cooperation at a European level is more necessary than ever. Everyone ultimately wants the same thing: to maintain security of supply, continue to tackle climate change and integrate renewables, give financial guarantees to investors, while involving consumers and offering them a choice. This Chair will provide the Elia Group with insights into how we can address these challenges at a European level.”

Philippe Haspeslagh, the Dean of Vlerick Business School, described the importance of the Chair as follows: “Vlerick has chosen grid operation in the electricity industry as one of its priority sectors because changing regulations and technological developments in alternative and conventional energy will mean a revolution in business models, investment priorities, internationalisation and change management for Europe's 41 TSOs and more than 2,300 DSOs. Elia in Belgium and its German branch 50Hertz are European pioneers in this area. We are therefore pleased to be able to collaborate even more closely through the Chair on research and on raising awareness and acknowledgment among regulators, others in the sector and within our own organisations.”


Notes to the editor

About the Elia Group

The Elia Group is organised around two electricity transmission system operators (TSOs): Elia Transmission in Belgium and 50Hertz Transmission (in which Elia has a 60% stake), one of the four German transmission system operators, active in the north and east of Germany. With 2,000 employees and a transmission grid comprising some 18,300 km of high-voltage connections serving 30 million consumers, the Elia Group is one of Europe’s top 5 TSOs. It efficiently, reliably and securely transmits electricity from generators to distribution system operators and major industrial consumers, while also importing and exporting electricity from and to neighbouring countries. The Group is a driving force behind the development of the European electricity market and the integration of energy generated from renewable sources.

In addition to its system operator activities in Belgium and Germany, the Elia Group offers businesses a range of consultancy and engineering services.

The Group operates under the legal entity Elia System Operator, a listed company whose reference shareholder is municipal holding company Publi-T.

About Vlerick Business School (

Founded in 1953, Vlerick Business School is a leading international school which is consistently ranked amongst the top business schools in Europe and the world. Its fully accredited education programmes are built on a strong tradition of innovation and independent research.

We practice what we teach, combining a healthy mix of theoretical knowledge and practical insight. Each course is tailored to meet the needs of over 800 MBA and Masters students and 6,000 executives each year, who are taught by a faculty of internationally recognised professors at our campuses in Brussels, Ghent, Leuven and St Petersburg.

Beyond our presence in the heart of Europe, with close ties to two of the continent's most prestigious universities KU Leuven and Ghent University, Vlerick Business School has forged alliances with over 40 other international business schools, including Peking University in China and the University of Stellenbosch Business School in South Africa. We have also established partnerships with over 400 companies worldwide, giving the school a truly global presence.

Our MBA students come from 40 different countries, and our 17,000 alumni represent the school in over 100 countries. This global network of students, alumni and corporate and academic partners connect together to learn, develop and improve.

Vlerick’s core values of openness, vitality, pragmatism, and a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship are woven into every aspect of the school, and are what sets it apart by creating an environment where people can exchange ideas, develop new initiatives and find new solutions for the challenges facing global business in the future.

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