A Greenpeace report launched in January demonstrates how Europe can switch to a smooth-running electricity grid powered almost entirely by green energy.
It shows for the first time what an intelligent grid for Europe by 2050 could look like. Based on extensive modelling from specialist engineering consultancy Energynautics, the report demonstrates how smart grid management, control technology and a network of efficient transmission lines can reliably balance the supply of variable renewable energy with demand across the continent, even when there is little wind and sun.
The report, Battle of the Grids, reveals how renewable energy will increasingly clash with coal and nuclear power generators. At times of peak production, renewables delivering clean and virtually free energy are already being muscled off the grid to allow nuclear and coal plants to continue running. This is because wind and solar power is variable, while nuclear and coal plants are constant but inflexible, a feature increasingly out of place with the vision by industry and policymakers of a flexible, efficient and cost effective energy system of the future.
Among other top line findings, the report demonstrates the need to phase out 90 percent of today’s coal and nuclear power plants by 2030 in order to have a stable and efficient electricity supply with 68% renewable sources by that date.
Greenpeace International energy campaigner Jan Vande Putte said: “Europe’s politicians should distance themselves from coal and nuclear, which are increasingly blocking progress towards a clean, modern and efficient energy system of the future. Thousands of wind turbines were shut off last year to allow coal and nuclear power to carry on a dirty and dangerous business as usual.”
European leaders will discuss the continent’s energy options at a special summit on 4 February. Greenpeace calls on them to withdraw political support and subsidies for coal and nuclear to allow green energy to continue its rapid growth.
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