Supergrid is technically feasible say proponentsTaken from: Offshore Wind Journal June 2012
At their inaugural conference, Supergrid 2012, the Friends of the Supergrid signed a joint declaration with representatives of Medgrid, the Renewable Grid Initiative and the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii), 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 a number of working groups they had established, showing that the technology to build and operate Supergrid is, they claim, available today, and setting out the preferred regulatory structures required to deliver European interconnection.
Opening the conference, the president of Friends of the Supergrid, Dr Eddie O’Connor, said: “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.”
In a joint declaration signed in Brussels on 21 March, Friends of the Supergrid, the Renewables Grid Initiative, MedGrid, the Climate Parliament, and Dii said they supported the effective and complete integration, in a single electricity market, of renewable energy from large-scale and decentralised sources.
“While we have diverging work focuses and represent different stakeholder groups, our initiatives share this common objective. The generation and supply of renewable energy from large-scale and decentralised sources will allow Europe and its neighbours to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance security of energy supply, and provide affordable energy to consumers,” said the declaration. “We recognise that this transition to a decarbonised energy future cannot be achieved without an improved and strengthened grid developed in accordance with the principles set out in the European Grid Declaration of 2011.”
The partners in the declaration then went on to declare that the following are common objectives and that they would contribute individually and jointly as appropriate to seek to deliver them:
• by 2020: contribute to the development of appropriate regulatory, technical and supply chain frameworks to deliver an integrated grid network, built in line with nature conservation and social concerns [that] will bring large-scale renewable energy from areas of generation in Europe and in neighbouring countries to load centres in an open European electricity market, and secure the integration of decentralised renewable energies into the electricity grid
• by 2030: contribute to the delivery of the first phases of the Smart Grid and Supergrid in order to cost-effectively integrate large-scale and decentralised renewable energy from Europe and its neighbours in a single European electricity market
• by 2050: contribute to the delivery of a complete Smart Grid and Supergrid, connecting a single European electricity market with neighbouring markets.
“In order to achieve these objectives, we call on the European Union and Member States, to accelerate and release, as soon as possible and well before 2020, the legislative and policy framework that will enable the improvement and strengthening of the power grid in Europe and in its neighbouring regions, in order to fully integrate large-scale and decentralised renewables.”
Joe Corbett from Mainstream Renewable Power told the conference that the working groups had not identified any “show-stoppers” to the development of a European Supergrid. Mike McElhinney, head of energy markets in the Energy Markets Division at the Scottish Government, described the ongoing Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) and said the project had “huge potential” for capturing wind, wave and tidal energy.
Dr Frank Schettler from Siemens noted that, for 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,” he told delegates, noting that what he called the “critical time-line” for introduction of new technology lies primarily in solution of non-technical issues, such as harmonisation of grid codes, regulatory procedures and revenue models that will create a strong market growth and technology push.
Members of working group 3, which has been examining supply chain constraints, noted that installation capacity for HV power cables would be sufficient in the period 2015-2020, but that to meet market developments beyond 2020, new cable-laying vessels could be required.