Offshore and onshore grids planning takes centre stage at Berlin conference

Those are some of the preliminary answers that the Friends of the Supergrid (FOSG) have raised to deal with important issues that still need to be addressed, people attending the Grids 2010 conference in Berlin were told today.

Ana Aguado, the Chief Executive Officer of FOSG, said during a conference session called “Planning a North Sea Supergrid” that the creation of such an entity also needs to have an efficient supply chain and an adequate number of properly trained workers.

Asked to define what a “supergrid” means, Aguado said her organisation describes it as “an electricity transmission system, mainly based on direct current, designed to facilitate large-scale sustainable power generation in remote areas for transmission to centres of consumption, one of whose fundamental attributes will be the enhancement of the market in electricity”.

Those attending an earlier session on onshore grid planning and policy issues were told that permitting procedures need to be accelerated and simplified in order to accommodate additional pressures prompted by the expansion of wind power and other renewables.

Sebastien Lepy, speaking on behalf of ENTSO-E, which represents 42 transmission system operators in 34 countries serving 525 million citizens, said other challenges to improving and expanding the grid system include involving all stakeholders in the planning process and dealing with social acceptance issues that can delay projects.

Lepy also said that about 100 billion Euros could be invested on developing a pan-European grid by 2030.

Grids conference hears Europe needs a radical transformation of its energy policies

Promoting wind energy and other renewables while dramatically expanding the grid system are now cornerstones of German energy policy, people attending the opening session at the Grids 2010 conference in Berlin were told today.

Jochen Homann, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology for Germany, also told conference delegates that Europe badly needs new electricity highways to efficiently meet future energy needs.

“The need to act is most pressing,” Homann said, adding European citizens need to understand why policy makers now agree that it is vitally important to update the grid system despite considerable associated challenges and costs.

Katherina Reiche, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment for Germany, said Europe is now entering “the age of renewables” which requires a radical transformation of energy policies.

“Innovation and acceptance are the keys to successful expansion of renewable energies,” Reiche added.

By Chris Rose,