Call for EU to fund new electricity grid to spur green energy

Publish date: October 30, 2008

“We need the EU to help fund a well-developed European electricity grid with more interconnectors among different countries,” said Paul Magnette, the Belgian Minister for Climate and Energy at the conference “Defining Europe’s energy strategy” organised by the Friends of Europe on October 30th.

Several speakers concurred that it was important to create an efficient transmission grid which would help transmit renewable energy among the different European countries. The wind does not blow all the time, but it generally blows somewhere. Mr Magnette, taking as an example his own country Belgium, underlined the need for countries with too small potential for renewable energy to invest in other European countries’ green energy potential.

“Norway is probably the European country with the largest potential to export renewable electricity given the large potential for offshore wind in its exclusive economic zone. Building a grid in the North Sea is necessary to realise that potential. The minister’s remarks reflect an increasing call for the EU to take the lead in financing the infrastructure needed for a renewable society,” said Eivind Hoff of Bellona Europa.

The Belgian minister insisted that the European Union contribute large funds as soon as possible to finance this project. According to him, the market forces will not incentivise companies to build interconnectors fast enough, yet the need to add more renewable energy to the grid is now, not in twenty years.

Mr Magnette pointed out that massive EU funds were allocated to nuclear energy. If a share of those funds were reallocated to renewable energy, huge progress could be made.