Christian Kjaer, chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association, argues that a supergrid is essential to EU efforts to cut carbon emissions
Over the next 12 years 360GW of new electricity-generating capacity – 50 per cent of Europe's current supply structure - needs to be built to replace ageing power plants and meet the expected increase in demand for electricity. The time is ripe for a complete overhaul of our electricity supply structure. We must use the next ten years to change the way the electricity is produced, transmitted and consumed in Europe.
Europe must use this opportunity to construct a new, modern power system capable of meeting the energy and climate challenges of the 21st century, while enhancing Europe's competitiveness.
Europe's current electricity structure still bears the characteristics of the time in which it was developed. It is national in nature, the technologies applied are ageing and the markets supporting it are underdeveloped. We urgently need to establish the free movement of energy; the Supergrid will be fundamental for establishing that freedom.
The power system must be supported by modern infrastructure technology, research and development, and well functioning markets for electricity and transmission in which investors, rather than consumers, are exposed to fuel and carbon price risk.
Supporting the expansion of wind energy and other renewable energy technologies, Europe needs dramatically improved competition in the Internal Energy Market, through new electricity infrastructure, changes in system operation and development of effective electricity markets throughout the EU.
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