Press release

UK should be part of a European Supergrid say engineers

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.

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7595 400912
Email: rbeahan@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • A European Supergrid is an electricity network that could connect generators and consumers from as far apart as Norway down to North Africa
  • The IET’s submission on a European Supergrid is available at
    http://www.theiet.org/policy/submissions/s896.cfm
  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespersons
  • The IET is Europe’s largest professional body of engineers with over 150,000 members in 127 countries
  • For more information, visit www.theiet.org
  • Follow the IET on Twitter