The electricity sector in Europe has issued a warning that significant investments are necessary in order to modernize aging electricity grids. Failure to do so could result in the EU not meeting its goals for clean energy.
The European Union’s strategy to combat climate change includes a goal of increasing the number of electric vehicles on European roads by 2030, promoting sustainable energy sources, and transitioning from fossil fuel boilers to electric heat pumps in residential buildings.
On Thursday, the Eurelectric association for the electricity industry stated that in order to achieve these objectives, the average yearly investments in Europe’s electricity networks must increase by at least 84% from 2021 to 2050.
“Our goal is to rapidly overhaul the energy system by replacing fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, with electricity. This involves expanding the grid with new generation capabilities and incorporating electric cars and heat pumps,” stated Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of Eurelectric.
Hence, it is not accurate to assume that the practices of 10 years ago will remain suitable for the next decade. This statement was made by the individual in an interview with Reuters.
The European Commission has stated that in order to achieve environmental objectives, a total of 584 billion euros ($626.3 billion) per year must be invested in power grid projects until 2030.
A significant portion of the funding is anticipated to come from private entities or be covered by grid tariffs. According to Eurelectric, government funding should prioritize promptly improving grids over investing in longer-term infrastructure projects, such as hydrogen initiatives that are not expected to launch until the 2030s.
The European Union’s Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson, informed Reuters that grid projects will be part of a forthcoming inventory of cross-border infrastructure, which will receive expedited permits and access to funding from the EU.
She stated that without a quick upgrade to our grid infrastructure, we will not be able to reach our 2030 goals.
More than 40% of Europe’s power grids are over four decades old. The majority were constructed to accommodate large power plants, and will require modernization in order to distribute energy from the growing number of local solar and wind installations projected to be connected in the next ten years.
EU countries are negotiating power market reforms that could make it easier and faster for grid operators to invest in upgrading networks. However, governments have been struggling to approve the law since June because of a dispute over state aid for power plants. — Reuters