Mar 21, 2023
Greece Seeks to Overhaul EU’s Power Grid in Green Transition
(Bloomberg) -- Greece will put forward a plan to overhaul the European Union’s electricity grids in order to lay the foundations for a massive rollout of renewable power.
The country wants to boost so-called north-south corridors so that areas with high levels of wind power generation are better connected with those that produce solar electricity, according to a non-paper seen by Bloomberg. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, will submit the proposal to leaders at a summit later this week, said a person familiar with the matter.
“It is imperative to redouble our efforts to expand and strengthen Europe’s electricity grid,” according to the document. “Investment in grids is below what is needed for a net-zero energy system.”
The EU is embarking on ambitious plans to reach climate neutrality by the middle of the century, including a massive rollout of renewables this decade. Yet there are concerns that the region’s grids aren’t well enough equipped to withstand a transition to more intermittent sources of power such as solar and wind.
About 600 gigawatts of wind and solar projects are held up awaiting connection to the grid in the UK, Italy, Spain, France and Germany — around 85% of their 2030 targets — and the cost to link them is often eyewatering, according to BloombergNEF. In Spain, for example, it can cost €150,000 to connect one megawatt of capacity to the grid.
Last week, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, put forward plans to scale up domestic production of eight “strategic net-zero technologies,” including those to boost the power grid. Leaders meeting at a summit on March 23 to 24 are set to discuss the plans for the first time.
The Greek non-paper also calls for better connections in the Western Balkans, where solar and wind generation still lags behind coal, along with a faster permitting process and a “European Grid Facility” to fund the rollout of network improvements.
(Updates with BNEF statistics in fifth paragraph.)
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