‘Tomorrow is invented today,’ is a famous line that is more relevant than ever in these current times. While major issues in the areas of health and the economy are causing personal inconveniences such as having to work from home and reduced social interactions, we are also seeing that this unprecedented COVID-19 situation is driving people to be innovative and take initiative.

New energy

When it comes to the energy transition, for example. Together with seven TSO CEOs from across Europe, we are seeing an opportunity to give the European Green Deal a real boost. Both in Germany and in the Netherlands, we are seeing an increase in climate ambitions reflected in our investment agenda; we have a record year ahead of us. Not only in terms of investments, but also in terms of the rapidly growing number of people we need to be able to do the job. Mind you, it’s not easy to be a pioneer in the European energy transition.

But I know for sure that if there’s anyone who can do it, it’s us.

In close collaboration with authorities, industry regulators, industry, and societal organisations. The ‘Transforming TenneT’ process has prepared us for this great and challenging task. For years now, we have shown successful examples of how to actively contribute to the transition towards sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy supply in Europe. Over the past decade, TenneT’s transnational approach has produced significant socio-economic benefits, as markets were merged and security of supply has steadily remained at a very high level. Our interconnection strategy is now more relevant than ever. The reciprocal offshore learning effects are paying off in the form of spectacularly lower cost to society and impactful innovations.

Today, as we are about to embark on our next growth phase, we face new and major challenges. Integrating large volumes of renewable energy into a newly designed energy system at affordable cost to society is a hugely important task that comes with responsibilities. An energy system that is ‘built’ to accommodate energy from renewable sources - wind and solar - is far more dynamic and complex. This means higher demands on the design of the grid and requires ambitious investments and digital innovations that can prevent yet more additional investments. We are teaming up with partners from across the energy market in applying new, smart technologies and implementing system integration in the future.

In order to be prepared, we started transforming TenneT in 2019. Besides a new organisational structure and a redefined leadership culture, we have refined our strategy, which is the compass that provides direction in making choices and contributing effectively to TenneT’s operations. We have also formulated an inspiring purpose, a promise, and clear principles to guide us on our growth path. With the Transforming TenneT programme, the company anticipates the need for closer collaboration between transmission system operators and other parties in the areas of network development, system integration, and innovation. With this in mind, the organisational design has been enriched with new future-driven units such as Strategy & Partnerships, Digital & Process Excellence, and Energy System Planning.

As the saying goes, ‘those who expect moments of change to be comfortable and free of conflict have not learnt their history.’ I must admit, it wasn’t always easy, and it won’t always be easy. Whilst doing our day-to-day work and successfully keeping the shop open, we worked hard on these building blocks for our future. We had lively discussions, we were challenged, by ourselves and by others. Some will have worked harder than ever and the past 18 months will undoubtedly have been very intense for many. But we have learnt so much along the way! And we’ve made it. Although we are not there yet, we now have all the building blocks for our TenneT house. My gratitude goes out to all of you for this huge effort and for your support.

The change is underway, constant, but we have already taken a major step together. I’m certain that we will be challenged again and again over the coming years. But with the new organisational structure, a new leadership team, and over 5,000 employees who bring our values of Courage, Ownership, and Connection to life, we are putting the future into practice today. Lighting the way ahead together. We are ready!