A report released by Greenpeace on Thursday based on analysis done by consultants Energynautics has floated the idea of a need for a pan-European supergrid to help meet the ambitious target of at least 45% renewables by 2030.
“Europe’s energy system is at a crossroads,” the authors of the report write, noting that the existing “large, polluting power plants” need to be shut down and replaced by renewable energy growth “if we are to have a truly sustainable energy system.”
Following in the wake of the European renewable energy target of 20% by 2020, Greenpeace is pushing the European Union to start thinking and planning for their 2030 goals. The report, powE[R] 2030, builds on two previous reports which were collaborations between Energynautics and Greenpeace. This third report is based on the modelling work done in 2009 and 2011 and “focuses on possible conflicts of national power supply pahtways and a new innovative “overlay-concept” or “super grid”.”
Greenpeace believe that one of the ways to solve the inherent fluctuation of renewable energy is to create a grid in which energy can be imported or exported “between European countries.”
“That means upgrading Europe’s grid with high voltage direct current cables which carry more power, take up less space and waste less electricity than the conventional, alternating current pylons we mostly use now.”
The report is based on data from the International Energy Agency and provides three potential scenarios bridging out to 2030 which examine the various levels of integration possible. The ‘Energy [R]evolution Case’ is based on the EU 27 Energy [R]evolution scenario which Greenpeace put out in October of 2012 and leads to “around 70% renewable electricity by 2030 and over 95% by 2050.”
The ‘Reference Case’ is based on the ever-present ‘business as usual’ scenario. The third scenario, the ‘Conflict Case’, “illustrates what happens if inflexible coal/lignite/nuclear power plants are kept in the system in France, Czech Republic and Poland while flexible wind and solar capacities are added in all other EU member states plus Switzerland and Norway.”
For more on each scenario, the full report is available here (PDF).
Greenpeace in the UK have also published a blog post looking into the report, including the investment increases required to hit the ambitious goals.