Implementing the European Grid Declaration - How can grids protect and enhance the environment?

In order for Europe to meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and successfully make the transition to a low carbon economy, large quantities of variable renewable energy sources will need to be integrated into the European electricity transmission network and transported across Europe to areas of demand. This will require both grid modernisation and expansion. Our challenge is to understand how this can be achieved while minimising the negative impacts on our natural environment, and where possible, delivering environmental improvements.

The Need for Grids

With the adoption of its 20-20-20 targets and the objective of a largely decarbonised power sector by 2050, the European Union has set the stage for a significant increase in the use of renewable energies. A modernisation of the energy grid is a key requirement in this context and acknowledged not only by TSOs and many major NGOs but also by some citizens that are directly affected by grid expansion projects.

1st European Grid Conference

Transformation of the energy system is changing the geographic and time horizons for planning and implementing new infrastructure. To fully integrate renewable electricity from centralised and decentralised sources, the grid’s architecture needs to be adapted and expanded to allow transmission over long distances, across national borders, from generation to consumption and storage sites.

Environment workshop

Renewable energy technologies are now established and appreciated as a key means of producing electricity in a climate and environmentally friendly way. However, to transport the electricity from these new generation sites to the users, additional power lines are needed. These new lines can raise serious concerns regarding their impact on the environment, including biodiversity, ecosystems and the landscape.

Understanding the Grid

Renewable energies are at the core of the social and political debates on the future of our energy supply system and current system security developments. How many new grid lines are necessary and why? What happens on windy days in the grid? How can system reliability be assured while integrating high shares of renewable energies? Will the new grid system be an extension of the actual or is it necessary to build a completely new one? What electricity transmission data can and should be disclosed to enable an integrative discussion on the future grid system?

Storage workshop

Today it is broadly accepted that the share of renewable energy sources in the European power grid is going to increase substantially and will reach very high percentages in the future production mix. Expansion of storage capacities is often considered pivotal to allow for this “renewable revolution”!