Affordable and Renewable Electricity Supply for Europe and its Neighbourhood

Optimal Solution: 100% Renewable HVDC Supergrid to save our climate

By Dr Gregor Czisch.

2008 Conference Paper Synopsis: In view of the resource and climate problems, it seems obvious that we must transform our energy system into one using only renewable energies. But questions arise how such a system should be structured, which techniques should be used and, of course, how costly it might be. These questions were the focus of a study which investigated the cost optimum of a future renewable electricity supply for Europe and its closer Asian and African neighbourhood. The resulting scenarios are based on a broad data basis of the electricity consumption and for renewable energies. An optimization determined the best system configuration and temporal dispatch of all components. The outcome of the scenarios can be considered as being a scientific breakthrough since it proves that a totally renewable electricity supply is possible even with current technology and at the same time is affordable for our national economies.

In the conservative base case scenario, wind power would dominate the production spread over the better wind areas within the whole supply area, connected with the demand centres via HVDC transmission. The transmission system, furthermore, powerfully integrates the existing storage hydropower to provide for backup coequally assisted by biomass power and supported by solar thermal electricity.

The main results of the different scenarios can be summarized as follows:

  • A totally renewable electricity supply for Europe and its neighbourhood is possible and affordable.
  • Electricity transmission between many different countries will be a very valuable and substantial component of a future supply.
  • Smoothing effects by the use of sources at locations in different climate zones improve the security of the supply and reduce the costs.
  • A spacious co-operation of many different countries opens up for the possibility to combine the goals of development policy and climate politics in a multilateral win-win strategy.

It can be expected that the results are adaptable to other world regions than Europe and its neighbourhood. Also in other regions there exist for example huge hydro-power potentials, very interesting wind energy potentials and deserts, which could be used to produce solar thermal power. So there is a huge variety of options in some regions which might even provide better conditions for a totally renewable electricity supply than can be found in and around Europe.

Electricity production is most problematic subsector for the climate since it is responsible for the by far biggest share of the total carbon emissions and is growing relatively fast. Worldwide about 10.5 GtCO2 or almost 45% of the total CO2 emissions from fossil fuels stem from big power plants with an annual exhausts of more than 0.1 Mt CO2. Therefore the scenarios show a viable path for a substantial mitigation of the climate change by economically replacing the current fossil based electricity system by one using renewable energies only.

Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Phys. Gregor Czisch/ IEE-RE / Wilhelmshöher Allee 73 / 34121 Kassel

Link to paper – Affordable and Renewable Electricity Supply for Europe and its Neighbours

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