22 September 2011
Engineers are warning that commitment, determination and a long-term approach by the Government will be crucial if a European Supergrid is to be successful.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) makes the warning as the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee today publishes its report A European Supergrid.
Dr Simon Harrison from the IET said: “If the Government is serious about this it must ensure a systematic approach, backed up by unwavering determination.
“This is a project offering big gains. The scale of this should not be under-estimated, not just in cost terms, but in technical complexity and political ambition.
“Whilst we would strongly support further analysis of cost and benefits, and the design of UK offshore networks to support a future European Supergrid, the realisation of a European Supergrid will be a long-term business.
“We need to better understand the value in the proposed European Supergrid in managing wind variability versus other options, and taking account of the need to deal with prolonged periods of low wind across Europe.
“Assuming that this analysis shows positive benefits then we would agree with the Committee that strong government leadership and action will be needed to drive this agenda forward in Europe.”
The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee report says that connecting the UK’s electricity system with neighbouring countries via a new European Supergrid would allow the National Grid to balance supply and demand more effectively, as intermittent sources of electricity become more important in our energy mix.
The IET submitted evidence to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee Inquiry into a European Supergrid in March 2011.