Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Renewable Super-Grid for Europe?

I encourage you to read this interesting interview with German energy analyst Gregor Czisch on the potential for a cost-neutral renewable super-grid linking Europe and North Africa. I've selected a few key quotes here highlighting the policy and geopolitical concerns.

The gas pipelines currently in use act exactly like a super-grid, transporting gas from Sahara and from Siberia to Europe. There is no conceptual difference from transmitting electricity instead of gas.
The scenario with renewable electricity would be instead much more secure, because the sources can be diversified, with less dependency from single countries.
If we look at the recent Copenhagen debates: instead of developing new ideas, they are still discussing about the trading of CO2 emissions, carbon limits, carbon-taxes and other old-style proposals which hardly are effective because they are too much based on the unrealistic believe [sic] in the positive market forces and neglect the inelastic behavior of the consumers in the case of energy consumption.

We further need a harmonized regulation to support the financing of these projects, for example a common European feed-in tariff able to cover the cost for production and transmission of the electricity.

To import 10% of its electricity demand from wind energy in Morocco, Europe would have to invest about 3% of its GDP in wind generators in Morocco. This corresponds to roughly 200% of the Moroccan GDP. Such a decision would boost the local economy, creating jobs, local competences and industries.
It would be a clear sign towards a systematical change in the way we live together, because it would not be a fragmented intervention or a temporary help for a developing country, but a sustainable investment in order to serve for a mutual interest in the long term.

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