A European Supergrid is the key to unlocking the single market in electricity across the EU according to a submission to the UK Energy and Climate Change Select Committee of the House of Commons made by the Friends of the Supergrid (“FOSG”).
In their written evidence to the Committee’s inquiry on Low carbon innovation, FOSG restated a number of key messages in relation to cross-border and internal market issues.
Building Supergrid is the only way Europe can reach its 2020, 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction objectives, integrate all potential renewable energy sources in its mix, combat climate change at least cost, lower import dependence of gas and oil (which in 2010 exceeded 50% of EU gross energy consumption), increase security of supply and reduce energy prices to consumers.
By increasing interconnection, rather than building capacity markets in each Member State, countries will be better able to share capacity and by so doing reduce the cost to the consumer of system balancing.
The costs of additional HVDC transmission needed to interconnect markets are significantly less than building new additional generation capacity, and will not run the risk of “locking in” new fossil generation.
As an example, the UK, France and Spain have an opportunity to interconnect their markets which would enable the trade of UK generation to balance Iberian renewables, and open the UK market to French, Spanish and Portuguese power at times of peak demand. The €2bn estimated cost of the interconnector can be contrasted with the estimated €19bn of Hinkley C. In addition, the link would deliver electricity into the UK for between €42-€100 MWh from a mix of existing nuclear and renewables generation in France, Spain and Portugal, in contrast to Hinkley which will receive an index linked price of €109 MWh for 35 years.
Supergrid is the fundamental architecture of an integrated European electricity market.