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Symposium 2010

Solution for Towards a Global Electricity Market

The Challenge

In principle, solar and wind are more than enough to deliver any amount of energy that the world’s population might need. But these sources are usually best exploited in areas that are far from ce ...

In principle, solar and wind are more than enough to deliver any amount of energy that the world’s population might need. But these sources are usually best exploited in areas that are far from centers of demand. It is technologically challenging to transport electricity over large distances and even more to store it. As a consequence, electricity markets have tended to develop as regional markets.

Integrate electricity grids supranationally.

Since electricity cannot be stored in a cost-efficient way at present, fluctuating renewable electricity sources from wind or solar power plants have to be backed up by conventional sources at high costs. These back-up power plants help if wind or sunshine is insufficient for electricity production from those sources and demand peaks cannot be met. At the same time, excess electricity from fluctuating sources is lost if generation from renewable sources is high but demand is low.

Connecting existing national electricity grids and expanding transmission capacity within and across countries is an effective and efficient way of balancing fluctuations in the supply of renewable electricity across regions. Large transmission capacities make it possible to locate new renewable power plants at the most profitable and efficient locations, thus leading to a decrease in the overall costs of renewable power generation.

The integration of power grids would come with a number of positive sideeffects: conflicts among states over limited primary energy resources for electricity generation (most notably natural gas but also coal) are more likely to be avoided if competitors are integrated in the same market; and market power vis-à-vis exporters of energy fuels would increase.

Nevertheless, infrastructure investments are a precondition for further integration of national grids. These include cross-border interconnection lines, high voltage direct current transmission lines and buffer capacities to cope with the increased risk of electricity supply disruptions. Similarly indispensable is the harmonization of national regulations, which would overcome the implied invisible trade barriers.

    Implemen- tations

    Implementation
    Symposium 2010

    ENTSOE—European Electricity Grid Initiative and GRID+ Project

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