Europe?s future can be driven by wind power and a supergrid

Delegates attending the Grids 2010 conference in Berlin on Tuesday and Wednesday will be hearing how both the future of Europe and its need for a totally revamped electricity structure are indelibly linked.

They’ll also hear that while building a so-called supergrid for the 21st century will be expensive, the many benefits will far outweigh any costs associated with such an ambitious European project. And, in any event, our existing outdated grid requires very substantial investment.

And they’ll learn that having a properly functioning electricity market will help drive Europe’s goal of realising a new and robust green economy that can mitigate climate change, create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs and drive down power prices.

Organised by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), the conference will examine many different facets of our antiquated grids system — from the massive upgrading required to the need for streamlined regulations to the role that wind turbines can play in providing increasing amount of emissions-free electricity.

According to some objectives, wind energy could represent 20% of European Union electricity consumption by 2020, rising to 33% a decade later and 50% by mid-century.

“In short, new and better grids are essential is we are to exploit Europe’s enormous wind energy resources and to enable a fast transition to a renewable energy economy,” EWEA’s president, Arthouros Zervos, said in his conference welcome message.

“Today, in 2010, we have an opportunity to change the way electricity grids function,” Zervos noted.

“This is the right time to build a grid that will power Europe for generations ahead. A modern, Europe-wide grid that connects offshore and onshore wind farm with consumers, that connects all countries and regions of Europe into one supergrid.”

This week’s grids conference will also provide delegates with information on transmission technologies, interconnection plans, wind farm control clusters, onshore grid policies, a North Sea supergrid, electricity market design, smart grids, and non-harmonised permitting procedures.

Not only will it give those attending new insights, the conference will also provide an opportunity to realise once again how wind power, an updated modern grids system, and the future of Europe are bound together by destiny.

By Chris Rose,