Conventional primary energies, such as coal, oil, gas and nuclear, have finite life expectancies and without access to alternative sources of power, Europe faces a bleak energy future.
One proposal led by Airtricity and called the 10GW Foundation Project aims to try to address this problem with the creation of a Supergrid. This would be a high voltage sub sea transmission network that would stretch from the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel and the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean.
The main advantage of such a supergrid is that it would act as an interconnector between national markets. This inter-connectivity could be used for trading all sources of electricity, thereby enhancing the economics and facilitating the integration of electricity markets. The benefits of greater competition, lower prices and increased security of supply for all the countries involved cannot be underestimated.
The Supergrid is based on the combination of two recent but proven technologies – large offshore wind turbines and voltage source converter high-voltage direct current transmission.
Wind turbines have increased their capacity by a factor of ten over the past two decades. The individual turbines to be used in The 10GW Foundation Project will have a capacity of 5MW each.