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European Supergrid

The Claverton Energy Group gave three exciting presentations about the potential for a European Supergrid, this morning, at the House of Commons.

Dr Mark Barratt of UCL led with an analysis of UK electricity use, on an hourly and monthly basis and followed this with an explanation of how this could be met with renewables, primarily wind energy, with backup provided by very limited fossil fuel use. This was about entirely domestic generation and use but Mark ended by pointing to the potential that Dr Gregor Czisch of Kassel University was about to deliver.

Dave Andrews, the Claverton convenor, then talked about the history of the development of the National Grid and of how, in times of war, many countries had successfully mobilised their industry to produce munitions. We could do the same with renewable energy.

Finally, Gregor spoke of his modelling of energy use across Europe and of the potential for differing mixes of renewables to find the most cost effective means of meeting our energy needs. Gregor's plan extends into North Africa and is made up of several High Voltage Direct Current links to establish redundancy. By generating in many countries the scheme has additional security. The result is that we could build a grid plus renewables for very little more then the projected cost of nuclear. The capital cost would be similar but, of course, the energy supply would be free. Gregor has calculated that electricity could be sold at a little less than the current market price.

The event was repeated again this evening and will be further repeated tomorrow. We had representatives of electricity generation, of construction, of renewables operators and Government departments. I believe that some MPs had booked in for this evening.

Add the news from Germany that a consortium of some 20 companies is planning to raise the capital investment for a Desertec, solar concentration scheme in North Africa and southern Europe and there is a clear message of hope that we can decarbonise energy generation. Currently, electricity generation accounts for nearly 50% of carbon emissions in Europe. The projected scheme, that we heard today, allows for balancing the needs of less developed countries. the hope remains that we can first do something about the considerable continuing energy waste.

Of course the problems of overpopulation and overproduction remain. We still have to act to change the way in which our societies live. Whilst solar and gravitational energies are far greater than our energy needs, the resources of land, usable water and all of the other resources found on the surface of our planet are stressed so that decarbonisation is but one step of the way. But, it is much easier to face up to and to resolve these other issues if we have a sure route to supplying our energy whilst removing the carbon emissions.

An exciting day!

When all of the seminar material is made available on Claverton's website, I will post links.