European grid still not so smart

The European electrical grid is unlikely to support the transmission of renewable energy sufficiently to meet the region's renewables targets, according to a document issued by the European Academies Science Advisory Council.

The EU wants to source a fifth of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, but this means that larger amounts of energy will have to be transmitted across long distances, the Council has warned.

Electricity from solar projects in the Sahara might need to be sent across Europe, for example, as might energy created from Scandinavian hydro projects.

The problem is that historically, electrical grids in Europe have been built on a localised basis, and there has been a lack of integration between different countries' networks.

That will hinder the transition to a renewable energy-based electrical system, the report said.

"The existing European electricity grid infrastructure, and generally low levels of integration and co-ordination in the planning and operation of the grid, will not support such transfers of electricity and consequently the achievement of Europe's energy policy goals," it warned.

The Council called for common planning and operating models for electrical grids across Europe, along with training programmes to put the necessary human resources in place. It also recommended the use of revenue from congestion management to help fund the redevelopment of the European grid.

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