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Study Launch: Prospects for Innovative Power Grid Technologies

19 June, 2024

On 19 June, CurrENT formally launched our study with Compass Lexecon, supported by Breakthrough Energy, ‘Prospects for Innovative Power Grid Technologies’. A first of its kind study at a European level, ‘Prospects for Innovative Grid Technologies’, looking at the potential impact of that deploying innovative grid technologies can have in helping Europe achieve its decarbonisation goals. Speaking on the importance of the study, Layla Sawyer, Secretary General of CurrENT said “The war in Ukraine put a spotlight on national energy security while expanded decarbonisation targets placed additional pressure on grid capacity. If we are to  achieve a fully decarbonised power system by 2040 then action must be taken to expand our grid capabilities and capacity now. This was also supported by the latest Energy Council, where Energy Ministers emphasized the need to roll out an EU Supergrid.”

Sawyer added “This report clearly lays out the case for greater use of IGTs in addition to building out more infrastructure. The innovative grid power technologies mean more capacity at a faster pace, which should mean they form a core part of plans to accommodate more clean energy generation and distribution. We urge key stakeholders to review our recommendations and fast-track adoption.”

Some of the key takeaways from the study are: 

  • In recent years, the annual network built out in Europe has been approximately 500 km/year at the transmission level and 80,000 km/year at the distribution level. The buildout required by the energy transition might need to jump to 10 000 km/year on average at transmission level, and 250 000 km/year at distribution level, a jump 20 and 3 times respectively 
  • Assuming a fast deployment of innovative grid technologies, a 20% to 40% capacity improvement on the wider network by 2040 could be achieved, enabling from approximately 100GW to 200GW of additional capacity. 
  • Even with a reasonably conservative deployment of innovative grid technologies, the needed transmission grids expansion can be accelerated by 5 to 8 years and distribution grids expansion can be accelerated by 4 to 7 years 
  • Installing innovative grid technologies could reduce the need for network buildout by approximately 35%, and hence achieve overall gross savings of 700 Bn€ by 2040

A special thanks to Compass Lexecon, Breakthrough Energy, and all those who contributed to make this study possible. This study can act as a catalyst for increasing the role of innovative grid technologies in Europe’s decarbonisation effort.