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It requires pan-European grid planning to accelerate renewables

Date

21 Mar 2022

Sections

Energy

European energy policy has been turned on its head, almost overnight, according to SuperNode CEO, John Fitzgerald. Renewable energy remains our principal weapon against energy dependence and climate change, but they need grids and a pan-European approach, he argues.

In recent days, energy independence has replaced climate change as the main driver of European energy policy. Nevertheless, renewable energy remains our principal tool to reduce reliance, energy prices and the climate impact of Europe’s energy consumption,” Fitzgerald said.

His comments follow last week’s informal meeting of EU leaders at the Palace of Versailles, west of Paris. Here, Europe’s heads of state or government “agreed to phase out our dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal imports as soon as possible", inter alia by “speeding up the development of renewables” and “completing and improving the interconnection of European gas and electricity networks”.1

Prior to the meeting at Versailles, the European Commission had published the outline of a plan -  REPowerEU – to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030. At the launch, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said:

The quicker we switch to renewables and hydrogen, combined with more energy efficiency, the quicker we will be truly independent and master our energy system.”

Her call for accelerating renewables was echoed by her colleague, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans:

Let's dash into renewable energy at lightning speed. Renewables are a cheap, clean, and potentially endless source of energy and instead of funding the fossil fuel industry elsewhere, they create jobs here.

The need for accelerating European renewables, currently meeting 22% of the EU’s energy consumption, has been recognised from the highest branches of European government.

A large majority of the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) responsible for revising a EU Renewable Energy Directive, also calls for an acceleration of renewables.  They want the legally binding EU target for renewable energy in 2030 increased from 32% to at least 45%. Together they represent parties – EPP, S&D, Renew Europe, the Greens and the Left - with more than three quarters of the seats in the European Parliament.

MEP Markus Pieper, the German Christian Democrat (EPP/CDU) and the European Parliament’s Rapporteur on the Renewables Directive, called for a 45% renewable target last week2, saying:

It’s like a wake-up call – we have to focus more on renewable energy because it’s the only energy which makes us independent”.

He added:

I propose, for example, more cross-border energy projects in order to strengthen the synergies of the internal market and to create a genuine pan-European energy market.

John Fitzgerald, CEO of SuperNode, agrees:

Mr Pieper is right: we need a genuine pan-European approach to plan, design, and construct Europe’s electricity infrastructure, not least offshore. Trains and cars are great means of transportation, but they make little sense without tracks and roads. The same applies to electricity. We need a pan-European offshore grid and we need a pan-European strategy to deploy it – fast.

The current, national and regional approach to cross-border grids will not deliver a timely and cost-effective grid. Offshore wind is Europe’s greatest domestic energy resource, the technology to harvest it is commercially available and far less costly than the technologies burning the fossil fuels we import from Russia and elsewhere,” Fitzgerald added.

The EU remains dependent on imports of gas (90% of consumption), oil (97%) and hard coal (70%) and Russia is the largest supplier of all three forms of energy to the EU. Russian gas meets 40% of total EU consumption and accounts for 27% of its oil imports and 46% of its coal imports.

1 See the EU leaders’ Versaille Decleration of 11 March 2022 here
2 See article in Euractiv on MEPs support to renewables, 15 March here

Link to SuperNode press release

Contact:

Mr Christian Kjaer
Chief Public Affairs Officer, SuperNode Ltd
Tel: +45 9360 2023
Christian.Kjaer@SuperNode.energy

SuperNode Ltd
Belfield Innovation Park
Belfield, Dublin 4, IrelandSuperNode Ltd. is a cutting-edge global technology company that develops terrestrial and subsea superconducting power transmission systems to connect offshore renewable energy generation and facilitate grid interconnection. SuperNode Ltd. is co-owned by Irish renewable energy entrepreneur, Dr. Eddie O’Connor and Norwegian offshore industrial group Aker Horizons.

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