Better energy grid would help Europe cut carbon

A truly pan-European energy market, with the grid infrastructure to support it, would make renewables a more attractive investment and help bring down the continent's carbon footprint.

This was the central message of Georg Adamowitsch, German Minister turned EC grid guru, when he spoke at the BWEA offshore wind conference on Thursday.

Mr Adamowitsch, European co-ordinator of interconnection, said the growth in renewables, and offshore wind in particular, was akin to a new industrial revolution but was being stifled by the lack of infrastructure that would allow energy to be effectively transferred between countries.

He said that wind, by its nature, was intermittent but if you cast the net wider, these localised dips in energy production could be softened, as it was always likely to be windy somewhere in Europe.

An international grid could take the spikes in energy production out of the picture, he argued, and this would make wind energy much more attractive to investors.

It would also allow for easy international trade of renewables, helping to address the issues of surplus energy and shortages across Europe, helping to address problems faced by many individual nations.

This would, in turn, lead to far greater carbon cuts than were likely to result from the European Emissions Trading Scheme, he claimed.

“Transmission is the key for reducing carbon emissions,” he said.

“Trade can only happen if there’s a net.”

Sam Bond

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