Europe should erect more wind turbines, a new report into energy in the bloc has said.
A draft of the EU’s Second Strategic Energy Review, says planning will start for a new power grid linking offshore wind turbines in the North Sea and for bolstering imports of liquefied natural gas.
Linking all the North Sea’s windfarms by a ring of undersea cables would smooth out any power fluctuations caused by turbulent weather, easing concerns that wind is too variable to be useful.
“It should become…one of the building blocks of a future European supergrid,” said the draft.
The Commission pledged to tackle any issues hampering the construction of renewable energy, which is seen supplying a fifth of the bloc’s needs by 2020.
Complementing the North Sea wind power grid would be a ring of gas and power connections encircling the Mediterranean.
“In particular, the ring is essential to develop the region’s vast solar and wind energy potential,” said the draft.
It also signalled a move away from the system of partially-connected national power grids served by giant nuclear gas or coal-fired power stations, towards a pan-European grid served by thousands of smaller, greener power plants.
And it detailed linking up with EU nations that are isolated and therefore vulnerable to blackouts — providing energy solidarity for countries like Lithuania or Estonia.
The EU will also launch consultations looking further ahead at the possibility of more radical shifts, such as removing all carbon dioxide emissions from the power system by 2050.
“The demand-supply balance will become increasingly tight, possibly critically so,” the review will say. “The need to address climate change will require a massive switch to high-efficiency, low carbon energy technologies.”