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Windtech International July August 2024 issue

 

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The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)has published a new report with a vision for a modern renewable energy power system, which sets out how the grid can integrate increasing amounts of wind energy. ‘Powering Europe’ argues there are no major technical barriers, but there are major economic benefits, to integrating large amounts of wind energy into Europe’s electricity grid.

The new report identifies infrastructure and markets as the two key barriers to hugely increasing the amount of wind power in Europe’s electricity supply. In order to deliver the onshore and offshore wind energy from where it is produced to where it will be consumed, Europe needs:
  • extended, upgraded and better connected grids
  • fair and effective competition in a truly internal European market in electricity

The economic benefits of creating a single market in electricity and improve the infrastructure are substantial, according to the new EWEA report. The benefits of a better interconnected grid include a €1,500 million yearly reduction in total operational costs of power generation due to increased availability of all generation capacity. The benefit of integrating 265 GW of wind into Europe’s grids by 2020. This is a ‘merit order’ effect of €11 for every  MWh produced  not just those MWh produced by wind turbines.

The electricity grid infrastructure needed to accommodate increasingly large amounts of renewable energy  and create effective competition in a single market in electricity includes a new offshore grid in Europe’s Northern Seas (North Sea, Irish Sea and Baltic Sea), as well as a number of improved interconnections across continental Europe (especially between Spain and France but also between Germany and its neighbours, across the Alps and in eastern and south eastern Europe).

The report also reveals that flexibility will need to be a key feature of European power systems in the future. This means power generation will have to be more flexible to take into account variable sources of power such as wind and solar. Smart grids will be needed to allow management of demand as well as improved management of supply, and largely national grids will have to be better interconnected.
 
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