European Super Grid – press release

Expert unveils plan for a European-wide renewable electricity solution

At the fourth Claverton Energy conference, hosted by Wessex Water, Bath, international energy expert Dr Czisch outlined his strategy for a European-wide super grid that would supply all of Europe with entirely renewable electricity. Speaking at the conference Dr Czisch of Kassel University, Germany, also said the move to a renewable electricity system could cost the UK consumer the same as what is currently being paid, and, if there is the political will, he added that it could in theory be achieved in decades.

Dr Czisch, who has conducted research of world weather patterns and European electricity consumption on an hour by hour, day to day basis, says Europe could ensure its energy security, slash its CO2 emissions and have a sustainable, renewable electricity supply by employing a network of wind turbines that stretch across the continent from Siberia to North Africa, where the wind is most constant. This would be supported by biomass, coupled with an extended transmission system and existing hydropower plants providing storage capacity. In Dr Czich’s Czisch’s system wind would account for 70% of the electricity mix. Biomass and hydro would provide storage and back up and the biggest part of the remaining electricity production. All of this is the result of a mathematical optimisation that allows for maximum objectivity in searching for the lowest cost renewable electricity supply for Europe and its neighbourhood.

Dr Czisch states that biomass production in his system would not have to impinge on agriculture. Electricity in Dr Czisch’s system created by wind farms in North African countries would also be used domestically in each country, but the major part of the total electricity created by these North African wind farms would, as Dr Czisch’s optimisation calculated, be fed into the European super grid. Dr Czisch says this would create economic development in each of these countries, as well as a reliable renewable energy infrastructure, and in addition it would give each nation the prospect of good income and long-term employment.

According to Dr Czisch if the power stations and transmission system are installed gradually – e.g. replacing existing plants as they become obsolete – the annual investment costs for the new installations in the whole scenario territory – according to the base case scenario – would account for €52.1 billion for the wind power plants, €16.2 billion for biomass power plants, €6.4 billion for the HVDC transmission system and €2.7 billion for solar thermal power plants, totalling €77.5 billion. This is 0.6% of the EU’s 2002 GDP.

Speaking after the conference Dave Andrews, Claverton Energy Group secretary and conference organiser said: “A lot of negative comment has been made about wind turbines and wind power without regard for fact. Dr Czisch’s European super grid is a clearly defined long-term solution for our energy needs that does not include nuclear power or the building of more coal and gas fired power stations. This largely confounds the claims of various energy experts who claim renewables cannot meet UK power needs, who make this assertion without reference or criticisms of Czisch’s detailed analysis.”

Leading UK and international energy experts agree that technology already exists for a European super grid and that renewable energy is the long-term solution for energy needs. Godfrey Boyle and Prof Dave Elliott of the Open University, Dr Mark Barrett of UCL, ex-chief scientist and co-founder of Airtricity, Brian Hurley, who have all carried out their own studies into the practicalities and use of wind power and other renewables, as well as Chris Hodrien of Expansion Energy Ltd and Oxford University, and Oliver Tickell environmental campaigner and author of Kyoto2, have welcomed Dr Czisch’s idea for a European super grid. The experts agree that renewable electricity is the right way forward and urge UK and European governments and energy policy makers to investigate this further.

Notes to editors

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Link to paper – European Super Grid

The Claverton Energy Group, is an informal association, of independent energy experts, who regularly meet to exchange and challenge views.  It has no agenda and comprises scientists, engineers and bankers who wish to understand the energy situation and who believe it is a critical issue for clear government policy.