Friends of a pan-European supergrid launch project

Friends of a pan-European supergrid launch project

Apr 9, 2010 - Lisa Sibley - Cleantech Group

Global corporations including Siemens and Areva sign on to design and install a supergrid energy network at sea by 2050.

Ten global companies have launched a new group, calling themselves “Friends of the Supergrid,” as of yesterday in London. The group is looking to help develop a pan-European offshore supergrid for renewables through everything from policy to regulatory framework.

The group has expertise in High Voltage Direct Current infrastructure and related technology, as well as developing, installing, owning and operating that infrastructure, which it hopes to build at sea by 2050.

“I envisage that from 2010 to 2020 we are going to be learning how to do this—how to build these grids and these new power stations for ourselves. The thinking work has to be done before we can actually get out and build this in practice,” said Mainstream Renewable Power's Chief Executive Eddie O'Connor, an advocate of the supergrid and past CEO of Airtricity. (see UK approves Greater Gabbard wind farm). “We, right now, have to start thinking in terms of how our children and our grandchildren are going to have electricity and other sources of energy by 2050.”

The "supergrid" is the future electricity system expected to allow Europe to undertake a once-off transition to sustainability, according to the group’s Web site. It’s needed given that Europe’s demand for electricity is expected to double by 2050, at an average growth rate of 2 percent (see Al Gore: Super grid is critical to combating the climate crisis).

European Union member states have committed to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, with the UK looking to reduce its GHG emissions by 80 percent come 2050.

Founding members of the group, expected to be based in Brussels, include: 3E, Areva, DEME Blue Energy, Elia, Hochtief Construction, Mainstream Renewable Power, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Prysmian Cables & Systems, Siemens, and Visser & Smit Marine Contracting. The group is to have a limit of 20 member companies.

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