Connecting the missing pieces to solve the DSO funding puzzle


In September 2023, E.DSO, in cooperation with the EU DSO entity, launched a survey targeting DSOs of all sizes to improve the understanding of how public funding is currently used. The objective was to identify potential gaps of EU programs for funding DSO infrastructure and to support policy recommendations for improvements for the development of the next DSO funding landscape and the Multiannual Financial Framework (2028-2034) [1].

DOWEL’s role

DOWEL Innovation designed and conducted the survey on behalf of E.DSO, from September to October 2023. The survey consisted in both an online survey and interviews: a total of 54 answers were provided to the online survey, collected from 39 different respondents from 15 Member States of the European Union (EU) and Ukraine. Five bilateral interviews were then carried out to obtain additional information supporting the online survey, as well as feedback and recommendations about funding opportunities at national and EU level.

Key Findings

While key findings revealed that existing funding schemes, and in particular the Horizon programmes, have been experienced as well-suited mechanisms to set-up, for instance, pilot projects testing innovative solutions, the survey brought to light an inherent dissatisfaction about the availability and accessibility of funds to finance the operating and capital expenditure required for the transition towards a decarbonised and more decentralised energy system.

Overall, survey results identified major obstacles connected to proper guidance by Member States, burdensome administrative processes, a lack of transparency, unproportionate competition, unfavourable regulatory treatments, or unrealistic timelines.

The evidence gathered suggested several recommendations related to earmarking for DSO projects to stimulate the entire value chain, a greater role of the European institutions in overseeing the effectiveness of implementing initiatives and strategies and simplification when it comes to the regulatory environment as a whole. These inputs served as fundamental basis to articulate solid policy recommendations to EU policy makers in their endeavour to improve the development of the DSO funding landscape.

Link to full document:

[1] E.DSO 2023: