A continent-wide super grid could help to balance the electricity network and allow a huge expansion of generation from renewable sources.
The idea behind the electricity ‘future grid’ is that countries can work together to make their energy supply more secure, cleaner and more affordable for consumers. In other words, improving each of the three issues in the energy trilemma.
Some solutions to do this include:
- Taking advantage of renewable resources from other countries, such as solar energy from sunnier countries in the South, in exchange for wind and hydro energy in the North, to make sure there is clean energy available for everyone at all times.
- As more electricity is generated by consumers at their end, the extra electricity they generate can be given back to the bigger grid so someone else can use it or it can be stored until needed.
- The move from a few big power stations that decide how much to generate and how much people will need, to lots of little ones all over the country that can generate and use when needed and give back what they don’t use, and be paid for it!
However, there will be challenges involved:
- Power lines travelling long distances are likely to have an impact on the environment and the landscape, so there may be some resistance over having these lines above ground. There has been such a discussion in Germany, with plans to take wind from the north of the country to the south changed, so now the power will be transported underground rather than overground.
- This solves the argument of affecting the landscape, but adds on much more time and money, which are also factors that need to be added in.