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EWEA's Features

Wind power needs a better electricity grid

09.02.2010

Europe’s electricity grid was last upgraded in the 1970s and so, today, it is ageing and creaking as well as being unable to cope with the shift to modern, green, renewable energies. This, combined with the twin effects of Europe’s growing power consumption and an ever more environmentally-aware population, is forcing decision-makers to think about how to revamp and extend the grid.

From the North Sea to the Mediterranean, Europe should be equipped with a grid which is technically able to deliver renewable energy far and wide, across the whole of the EU.

In the North Sea, a grid running under the sea should be built and be able to transmit energy from offshore wind farms at sea to the land – unleashing Europe’s biggest source of domestic energy, offshore wind. A plan for the North Sea should also foresee inter-linking the electricity grids of all the countries surrounding the North Sea.

With an enormous potential for renewable energy, the Baltic region should also have a modern and green technology-enabled grid that fully taps into energy sources such as wind power.

Further south, a so-called Mediterranean Energy Ring would allow southern Europe and North Africa to be powered in part by the vast wind and solar power in the region.

For the wind industry these are the three most important “Priority Infrastructure Plans” which the European Commission is currently developing in order to create the electricity supergrid of the future.  

While these grid developments are vital for rolling out environmentally-friendly energy on a wide scale, new rules and regulations to make the market function smoothly, avoiding administrative humps and bumps, are also needed. Such rules would effectively allow renewable electricity to be traded on a pan-European scale, driving down electricity prices paid by the consumer. 

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