No global clean energy transition without Supergrid

Five grid initiatives, representing a range of global energy actors, called on decision makers to accelerate the transition to a pan European electricity infrastructure last week, warning that there would be “no transition to a secure, sustainable and competitive European electricity system without Supergrid”.
No global clean energy transition without Supergrid

At their inaugural conference “Supergrid 2012”, the Friends of the Supergrid today signed a Joint Declaration with representatives of Medgrid, the Renewable Grid Initiative and the Desertec Industrial Initiative as well as representatives of the Climate Parliament, calling for action to deliver a European Supergrid.

The Friends of the Supergrid also released the conclusions of their Working Groups, showing that the technology to build and operate Supergrid is available today, and setting out the preferred regulatory structures required to deliver European interconnection.

Opening the conference, Friends of the Supergrid President, Dr Eddie O’Connor stated: “There are now no technical barriers to the delivery of a European Supergrid. What is now required is the regulatory and investment framework to enable the construction of its first legs, to bring sustainable, clean energy from the north and south of Europe to cities and communities across the continent.” 

“Europe’s vast renewable energy reserves are a continental resource to be traded in a single electricity market. An interconnected Europe will deliver affordable and secure sources of low carbon electricity to consumers who are today penalised by barriers to trade and exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices.”

Delivering the keynote address, Belgian Minister for the North Sea Johan Vande Lanotte said “Over the last 30 years Europe has built a highways network. Our priority now must be to do the same for our electricity grids. This is how we will deliver Supergrid. In Belgium we are building a "Super plug" to connect a series of offshore wind parks and link Belgium with its neighbours. That is the first step to Supergrid."

At a major conference about the need for a pan-European renewable electricity supergrid organised by Friends of the Supergrid in Brussels today (Wednesday 21st March), a coalition of businesses, NGOs and parliamentarians will sign a joint declaration entitled "No transition without transmission".

Sir Graham Watson MEP, who is the Chairman of the Climate Parliament, a world-wide network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties campaigning to increase government investment in renewable energy and electricity supergrids, will be one of the co-signatories. Sir Graham is also the President of the ELDR party and a UK Liberal Democrat MEP.

Ahead of the event, Sir Graham said: "A powerful 'grand coalition' of businesses, parliamentarians and NGOs have come together to say that to move to 100% renewables we need to share our solar, wind and hydro resources across borders with a European electricity supergrid.

"As with all major infrastructure projects, MPs, MEPs and governments are going to be crucial to making this vision a reality. We will need financial guarantees, streamlined planning procedures - and political drive."

"The proposed Connecting Europe Facility budget is an important first step, but it is crucial that the money is spent on electricity transmission, not gas pipelines. The latter would risk locking fossil fuels into our energy system for decades. And besides, Gazprom et al do not need the taxpayer to subsidise their pipelines!"

The joint statement will be signed by Friends of the Supergrid, the Climate Parliament, the Desertec Industrial Initiative, the Renewables Grid Initiative and Medgrid.

There are no technology “show-stoppers” to the development of a European Supergrid. For visionary long term planning the availability of key VSC-Grid technologies, such as control and protection methods, main circuit design, grid master control, offshore operation experience and selective fault clearance techniques like DC breakers, can be assumed. This should give confidence to specify grid-enabled point-to-point connections that could be expanded to multi-terminal building blocks for a larger overlaid grid. The critical time-line for introduction of new technology lies primarily in solution of non-technical issues, such as harmonization of Grid Codes, regulatory procedures and revenue models that will create a strong market growth and technology push.

For additional information:

Friends of the Supergrid

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