For a long time, the world energy development has been excessively reliant on the fossil energy. The global population has far more fossil fuels than it can safely burn. Currently, fossil fuels provide almost 80 % of world energy supply and will stay dominating it for several decades. They are enormously useful, massively valuable and hugely important geopolitically. Due to our reliance on them, global population faces climate change, environmental pollution and resource scarcity, threatening the people’s livelihood and well-being. Nearly 2/3 of the global emissions of greenhouse gases are produced by fossil fuels. In the recent 50 years, the world’s annual fossil fuel consumption has increased by more than 2 times and has reached 16 billion tons of standard coal.
At present, the global temperature has increased more than 1 degree Celsius compared with that before the industrial revolution.
The global energy demand can be met by using only 0.05 % of the total reserves of clean energy, exploiting the potential of renewable sources from the Arctic circle and equatorial deserts, moving clean energy over long distances from remote power bases to users in Asia, Europe, North America and elsewhere, and utilising UHVDC and HVDC power transmission technology. Many developing countries and regions including many countries in Africa, Asia and South America have rich clean energy such as wind energy, solar energy and water energy.
All this can happen over time as business opportunities and co-benefits have been identified. Several initiatives around the globe have attempted to realise this vision, DESERTEC’s concept transporting solar and wind power from North African deserts to Europe, GOBITEC initiative transferring solar and wind energy from Gobi desert to Mongolia and China, or Megrim project that would provide North Africa and Europe with solar energy.
These regional initiatives have been dwarfed by the recent establishment of a new global initiative by the State Grid Corporation of China, the Global Energy Interconnection.
Without effective measures the global temperature increase shall exceed 4 degrees Celsius to the end of this century, seriously threatening human survival and development. Climate change has become one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity.
Though there is constant increase in fossil fuel consumption, there are still millions of people who cannot enjoy the basic modern energy services. In order to achieve the United Nations’ development goal of “ensuring that everyone can enjoy and afford reliable and sustainable modern energy”, the global energy supply will maintain a rapid growth. However, the present world energy system that is dominated by fossil fuels is not sustainable. Thus, to find an energy transformation and sustainable development road on the basis of other alternative energy sources has become a top priority.
The solution lays in making use of the inexhaustible sources of global clean energy.
The Global Energy Interconnection initiative presents a globally interconnected strong and smart grid with UHV grid as the backbone, which will serve as a platform for extensive development, deployment and utilisation of clean energy globally. The Global Energy Interconnection has set out a 3-phase plan to interconnect the energy world by 2050 with countries knitted together by new, efficient, long-range transmission lines.
To achieve the goals set out by the United Nations and international communities, the development of the world’s advanced clean energy technology needs to be accelerated so as to create a new pattern of sustainable energy use and fundamentally solve the problem of energy security and climate change.
Global Energy Interconnection can be regarded as an important measure to improve energy efficiency, accelerate the transformation of energy, promote the development of clean energy and respond to climate change issues.
Europagrid’s plans and activity of becoming an independent pan-European provider of interconnection feed into this vision. The strategic nature of our chosen projects establishes a series of vital cross-border trading links, which offers long-term strategic value for future visions of the global energy grid.