EU Interconnector Targets
By Paul Homewood
h/t Joe Public
I noted a couple of months ago the fact that the EU had set targets for building of interconnector capacity.
Joe Public has done some digging and tracked down the Press Release from the European Commission last year, which introduced them.
These are the key points:
What is the ‘electricity interconnection target’?
The European Council of October 2014 called for all Member States to achieve interconnection of at least 10% of their installed electricity production capacity by 2020. This means that each Member State should have in place electricity cables that allow at least 10% of the electricity that is produced by their power plants to be transported across its borders to its neighbouring countries.
Why is it necessary that electricity grids of EU countries are connected with each other?
When power plant fails or during extreme weather conditions, Member States need to be able to rely on their neighbours for the importation of the electricity they need. Without infrastructure it is impossible to buy and sell electricity across borders. Therefore, connecting isolated electricity systems is essential for security of supply and help achieve a truly integrated EU-wide energy market which is a key enabler for the Energy Union.
Put simply with good connections between neighbours:
– electricity systems will be more reliable and there is a lower risk of black-outs
– we can save money by reducing the need to build new power stations
– consumers will have more choice putting downward pressure on household bills
– electricity grids can better manage increasing levels of renewables, particularly variable renewables like wind and solar.
More renewables also means more jobs – in 2012 the renewable energy and technology firms in the EU employed around 1.2 million people.
How much money will be needed to reach the 10% interconnection target?
The European Commission estimates that up to 2020 about €40 billion will be needed to reach the 10% target across the EU.
As I suspected at the time, one of the drivers for the target was to enhance the EU’s objective of ever greater union. In their own words:
help achieve a truly integrated EU-wide energy market which is a key enabler for the Energy Union.
It is interesting to note as well that they need all of this to “better manage increasing levels of renewables”. Whether it makes the slightest difference when half of Europe has a week of no wind in winter is another matter.
But it will only cost a mere €40 billion, so who’s worrying?