Priorities for 2020 and beyond – an EC blueprint for an integrated European energy network
Europe's energy infrastructure must be updated and better connected, for it "pays the price for its outdated and poorly interconnected energy infrastructure," admitted the European Commission recently. In this exclusive report, we look at the plans to build an integrated European energy network, and discuss the potential obstacles.
Let us begin with the words of Günther H. Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy... "Europe is at an unprecedented crossroads for its energy future. We are currently going through a paradigm shift
in the way we produce, transmit, distribute and trade energy, as we try to reduce
the carbon footprint of the energy sector
as a whole. This shift will increase the
role of electricity compared to other
"We will have to get the most promising renewable energy sources where they are, while further integrating the European energy market. And we will have to ensure continuous security of our energy supplies, notably from gas, in the context of an increasing dependency on imported fossil fuels. None of these goals can be reached without solid, reliable and smart energy networks. They are - and will become even more so - the backbone of our energy system.
"But our existing grid infrastructure is simply not up to the challenge. It has to be updated; it is too old, too fragmented, and already overloaded at several critical points. At the same time, over the last few years we have seen increasing scepticism from the general public towards any type of new energy infrastructure, be it a power station, a wind farm, or an overhead high-voltage line.