On these pages an analysis of the renewable electricity potentials in Europe and their capability to provide firm power capacity on demand is given. The concept includes an interconnection of the electricity grids of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EUMENA) and evaluates the potential and benefits of solar power imports from the South.
The conventional electricity grid is not capable of transferring large amounts of electricity over long distances. Therefore, a combination of the conventional Alternate Current (AC) grid and High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission technology will be used in a Trans-European electricity scheme based mainly on renewable energy sources with fossil fuel backup.
The results of this scenario can be summarized as follows:
1. A well balanced mix of renewable energy sources backed by fossil fuels can provide sustainable, competitive and secure electricity for Europe. For the total region, the scenario starts with a reported share of 20 % renewable electricity in the year 2000 and reaches 80 % in 2050. An efficient backup infrastructure will be necessary to complement the renewable electricity mix, providing firm capacity on demand by quickly reacting, natural gas fired peaking plants, and by an efficient grid infrastructure to distribute renewable electricity from the best centres of production to the main centres of demand.
2. If initiated now, the change to a sustainable energy mix leads to less expensive power generation than a business as usual strategy in a time span of about 15 years. Imported fuels with escalating cost will be increasingly substituted by renewable, mostly domestic energy sources. The negative socio-economic impacts of fossil fuel price escalation can be reversed by 2020 if an adequate political and legal framework is established at time. Feed-in tariffs like the German or Spanish Renewable Energy Acts are very effective instruments for the market introduction of renewables. If tariff additions are subsequently reduced to zero, they can be considered a public investment rather than a subsidy.
3. Solar electricity generated by concentrating solar thermal power stations in MENA and transferred to Europe via high voltage direct current transmission can provide firm capacity for base load, intermediate and peaking power, effectively complementing European electricity sources. Starting between 2020 and 2025 with a transfer of 60 TWh/y, solar electricity imports could subsequently be extended to 700 TWh/y in 2050. High solar irradiance in MENA and low transmission losses of 10-15 % will yield a competitive import solar electricity cost of around 0.05 €/kWh.
4. Carbon emissions can be reduced to 25 % compared to the year 2000. 1 % of the European land will be required for the power mix, which is equivalent to the land used at present for transport and mobility.
5. European support for MENA for the market introduction of renewables can attenuate the growing pressure on fossil fuel resources that would otherwise result from the economic growth of this region, thus helping indirectly to secure fossil fuel supply also in Europe. The necessary political process could be initiated by a renewable energy partnership and a common free trade area for renewable energies in EUMENA and culminate in a Community for Energy, Water and Climate Security.
On the following pages simulation system examples for Renewable Power Systems can be found:
On the subpages below, the analysed, simulated and reviewed European transition scenario’s from non-renewable to renewable electricity generation can be found for 2000-2050.
This page has the following sub pages.