What is stopping the supergrid?

» By | Published 30 Nov 2011

A European offshore supergrid – with interconnections between European countries and to offshore wind farms in Europe’s seas – is the vision, but there are big and significant barriers to achieving that vision.

‘We don’t have an interconnected European network today, and we don’t have an offshore grid,’ Ana Aguado from Friends of the Super Grid said today at OFFSHORE 2011 in Amsterdam, outlining the problem in a nutshell. ‘There can be no transition [to a renewable electricity sector] without transmission,’ Eddie O’Connor from Mainstream renewable power said referring to the significant need for grid infrastructure.

The lack of a truly European regulatory framework is a barrier. Olivia Woolley from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands said that the existing legal framework may have its limits when it comes to offshore grids.

Europe needs a joined-up approach to developing a supergrid, not simply the sum of national development plans, Aguado said.

Adam Bruce of Mainstream renewable power said that an integrated grid will reduce the cost of offshore wind. He added that the technology is there and ready. ‘Technology is not a barrier to the development of the supergrid,’ he said.