Europe lacks a vision for its future power grid. The view of Environmental NGOs on grid development in Europe
Europe’s electricity grid is characterised by large and centralized power stations (geographically but also regarding ownership structure), mostly based on polluting fossil fuels, which produce energy constantly regardless of consumer needs; along a wasteful and inefficient aging network. The patchwork of national grids stitched together over the years is an inconvenient and uneconomical system.
Climate change policy and the increasing dependency on energy imports, together with citizens’ desire to consume clean energy, are driving Europe to transform towards a smarter, more efficient Europe-wide grid. Such a grid should be able to integrate vast amounts of clean and cheap renewable energy while guaranteeing continuous supply, and would provide huge technological and business opportunities to a sector which is as well affected by the economic downturn. It will also support the interconnection of isolated electrical regions and markets, fostering market and price coupling and thus reducing electricity prices across Europe. Public support for the major investments is essential. This means plans must be based on a coherent and ambitious ‘green’ vision, and be implemented sensitively to minimize the direct impacts additional generation and grid infrastructure can have on nature and the environment.