Global Energy Interconnection

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Global Energy Interconnections

South America

South America is abundant in energy resources. Grid interconnections in the continent are designed mainly to realize mutual support for power supply between north and south in the western coast of the continent, transmission of electricity from north to south in the eastern regions, and transmission of power from west to east in the central regions.

North America

North America’s grid interconnections connect the wind power bases in the central and western parts of the continent, the solar energy bases in the southwestern regions and the hydropower bases in Canada to the load centers in the east and west, importing Arctic wind power from Greenland in the east and with interconnections with Asia’s power grids through Alaska in the west, to achieve large-area allocation and efficient consumption of renewable energy at the intracontinental and transcontinental levels.

Asia

Asia is the world’s largest load center with abundant renewable energy resources. In the future, intracontinental interconnected grids will be built with the continent’s large renewable energy bases at the sending end, and connected to various major load centers to receive electricity flows from the Arctic and equatorial regions across different continents and countries.

Europe

Europe is one of the most important load centers in the world. The continent’s interconnected power grids are designed principally to allow access for wind power from the Arctic and the North Sea, and the solar energy from Southern Europe and North Africa. Another purpose is to ensure joint operation of hydropower and other power sources generated in Europe, and continent-wide consumption of these power sources.

Africa

Grid interconnections in Africa will help achieve the operation of solar and wind power bases in North Africa jointly with the hydropower bases in Central Africa and the solar energy bases in Southern Africa to meet rising power demand in Africa and provide a robust grid at the sending end for solar energy exports from North Africa, shaping a new energy scenario marked by the delivery of electricity from north to south, mutual support for electricity flows between east and west, transmission of power northward to Europe, and interconnections with Asia to the east.

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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.