The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, (ENTSO-E), says that the proportion of renewable power coming on line by 2020 means the community will need more coal and gas power plants to guarantee energy security.

40 per cent of Europe’s power capacity will be provided by renewable energy by that date.

ENTSO-E points out that of the total generating capacity of 1185 GW in 2020, renewable sources will account for 512 GW, an increase of about 50 per cent from now and more than the 471 GW estimated for coal, natural gas and oil plants. The rest will come mainly from nuclear reactors.

Europe will need 38 GW of “reliably available capacity” in addition to already confirmed investments to maintain the balance between supply and demand.

“Depending on the penetration of variable generation to the overall energy mix, this could imply that the level of needed investments in installed capacity is significantly higher,” ENTSO-E said.

The European Union’s drive to generate 20 per cent of its power from renewable energy by 2020 and cut reliance on carbon- heavy coal and oil output is increasing the need for flexible back-up plants that can provide electricity during times of unfavourable weather conditions.
ENTSOE-E
Germany is contemplating the prevention of closures of unprofitable plants to ensure that the lights stay on. They along with the U.K., France, Italy, Poland and Belgium are among member states considering compensating fossil fuel-fired plants for low or negative returns caused by increased renewable energy usage, weak demand and depressed prices.

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