EU transmission system operators group ENTSO-E is planning a three-year study project to start in 2012 to look at how to develop a secure, integrated, near-zero carbon power grid by 2050.
 
“The main question is…how to transform the yesterday’s ‘generation follows load’ principle into a tomorrow’s ‘load follows generation principle,” ENTSO-E said in the study’s draft road map published for comments, reports Platts.
 
The focus is on developing a “pan-European electricity highways system” to integrate fluctuating renewables, the wider power market and improve power supply security. The ultimate aim is to produce a cohesive and comprehensive plan by end-2014 “to readily, sensibly and practically address the mid and long term system needs with the aim of commissioning the first ‘electricity highways’ by 2020,” said ENTSO-E.
 
The plan is to include a “concrete modular proposal” for how an electricity highways system should look in 2030 and every five years thereafter to 2050, reported Platts.
 
ENTSO-E’s study project follows the European Commission’s November 2010 policy paper on EU energy infrastructure priorities for 2020 and beyond, and a swathe of studies in recent years looking at 2050 zero carbon EU power scenarios. EU leaders committed in 2009 to cut total EU 2050 emissions by 80 per cent to 95 per cent on 1990 levels, and urged other developed countries to do the same.
 
A key element in many of the studies is the EU’s need for significantly more long distance transmission and interconnection – electricity highways – to link future large scale renewables and other low carbon power output to demand and pumped storage facilities across the EU.
 
Interested parties have until June 3 to respond to the draft road map, available at www.entsoe.eu. ENTSO-E is also holding a stakeholder workshop on May 10 in Brussels. It expects to publish a final study road map taking account of feedback by end-July.