The transformation of the European energy sector towards a renewables-based system is crucial to achieve climate and decarbonisation goals. However, renewable energy sources and the accompanying transmission infrastructure will require space both on land and at sea – space that is finite, especially considering that other users also have legitimate spatial requirements, including urban development, agriculture, and biodiversity protection and restoration.
At the same time, a lack of sufficient data and information on the space required to achieve decarbonisation prevents a good understanding of where energy transition infrastructure shall be located in order to optimally use available resources, reduce potential conflicts, and contribute to system planning.
To address this gap, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) commissioned the Reiner Lemoine Institute (RLI) to develop a comprehensive analysis of spatial and water requirements to achieve the implementation of four distinct decarbonisation scenarios in Europe:
- CLEVER scenario (a Collaborative Low Energy Vision for the European Region)
- Paris Agreement Compatible (PAC) Scenario
- Distributed Energy (DE) and Global Ambition (GA), both scenarios which serve as a basis for the official Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP).
This process included interactions with a broad array of stakeholders and energy experts from diverse sectors. The modelling results that underpin the study, are also visualised in an interactive online tool.
The analysis and its corresponding online visualisation tool provide insights for policymakers, energy system planners, and other stakeholders, helping to understand the trade-offs and opportunities associated with the implementation of each of the analysed decarbonisation scenarios.