Europe-wide electricity grid to benefit UK and neighbouring countries

» By | Published 28 Sep 2011

The Chair of the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Committee, Tim Yeo, has highlighted the benefits that a Europe-wide electricity grid would bring to the UK.

In an article published by Renewable Energy Focus he said that the UK’s electricity system is “the least interconnected of all European countries.”

He added that the island nation has vast offshore resources of renewable energy. “In fact, we potentially have enough wind, wave and tidal energy to more than match our North Sea oil and gas production and transfer the country from a net energy importer to a net energy exporter.”

“Developing an integrated and interconnected offshore network would allow us to tap these huge resources cost-efficiently and prepare the ground for a European supergrid,” Yeo said.

Eddie O’Connor, Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power, backed Yeo’s comments saying that a “European Supergrid as an essential part of the UK’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and ensuring energy security.”

Yeo’s comments come as the European Wind Energy Association launches its campaign calling for a single market for electricity in the EU and more electricity infrastructure. With better, extended grids and a fully functioning internal market, Europe can secure its energy supply, integrate renewables and meet its climate goals.

The call is supported by 14 other associations, read the statement here.

In the article Yeo also noted that the UK’s National Grid has paid some wind energy generators to switch off during times of higher wind, “because we haven’t got the wires to deliver electricity from where it is produced to where it is needed.”

In a separate article on wind power in the UK published by Reuters, Olly Spinks, Director at consultancy Timera Energy, said that the predicted growth in UK wind power will mean that gas and coal plants will be increasingly used as gap fillers for variable renewables.

But Kamran Pervaze, energy market analyst at consultancy Wheldrake Energy, said that one barrier to growth in wind energy in the UK is its aging transmission grid. “For a country with some of the best offshore wind resources in the world it’s pretty embarrassing by international standards,” he said.