30 Billion Euro Project Europe Plans New Power Grid to Boost Green Energy

Nine countries in northern Europe are hoping to boost renewable energies by creating a new grid to balance out weather-related fluctuations, according to a German newspaper report. The €30 billion project is urgently needed to help boost green power and combat climate change.

The Horns Reef wind farm in Denmark, some 20 kilometers off the port of Esbjerg. Europe plans to create a new power grid for renewable energy.
AFP

The Horns Reef wind farm in Denmark, some 20 kilometers off the port of Esbjerg. Europe plans to create a new power grid for renewable energy.


Nine European countries plan to boost their renewable power generation with a €30 billion ($43 billion) project to build a power grid of high-voltage cables under the North Sea, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday.

The cables will transport energy generated by wind power, tidal power and solar power and thereby form a basis for the continued expansion of renewable energy to help combat climate change, the newspaper reported, citing government sources.

The project includes Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Norway.

Linking up the Wind Farms

Under the plan, the cables will distribute wind power across large parts of Europe within 10 years. The aim is to link up offshore wind farms along the coasts of Germany and the UK with Norwegian hydroelectric power stations, tidal power stations on the Belgian and Danish coasts and wind and solar power systems on the European mainland.

Officials from the nine countries had agreed to discuss cooperation in December. A first meeting of so-called "national coordinators" is scheduled for Feb. 9, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported. The countries want to agree on a letter of intent by the autumn.

A spokesman for the German Economy Ministry confirmed that preparatory meetings at working group level would take place in January, followed by a "higher-ranking" meeting later on in the first quarter, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Leading European power companies and network operators are to take part in the negotiations because the private sector will be expected to fund most of the investment, the spokesman said. The aim is to coordinate Europe's renewable energy strategies on a technical and political level, he added.

Common Grid to Offset Weather Fluctuations

The fluctuation of renewable generation as a result of changing weather conditions has posed a major obstacle to increasing renewable power generation, and a common grid could offset those variations and provide a reliable power supply for large parts of Europe. Norwegian hydroelectrical power plants, for example, could serve as a large-scale storage facility for wind power generated in the UK and Germany.

According to the newspaper, energy companies are in the process of building offshore wind turbines along Europe's coasts with a total capacity of 100 gigawatts, equivalent to about 10 percent of Europe's entire energy needs and matching the output of 100 large coal-fired power stations.

Sven Teske, an expert on renewable energies for Greenpeace, said Europe's existing power grid wasn't capable of taking in the output from the new wind farms and that European power grid urgently needs to be expanded, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

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