Europe's underdeveloped power grid infrastructure means that a surplus of electricity cannot be traded across borders, wasting renewable energy in countries that produce more than they consume, write Jo Leinen and Werner Langen.
Portugal produced more power from clean energy sources in March than it actually needed, marking the first time in the 21st century that renewables have topped 100% of its production. But a dearth of energy connections with the rest of Europe remains problematic.
The Irish electricity is now able to cope with 65% of electricity coming from intermittent electricity sources like wind and solar – an expertise Energy Minister Denis Naugthen believes can be replicated on a larger scale as Europe moves towards 50% renewable power by 2030.
A seamless pan-European energy market is still a long way off, but decisive steps can be taken now with stronger regional cooperation and the introduction of cross-border bidding zones for electricity, policymakers and industry experts argue.
The European Commission hopes that its Energy Union strategy will make the EU's energy supply more secure, affordable and climate-friendly. But the energy market is highly fragmented, and focused on national interests.
French power grid operator RTE has started work on a new 190 km power interconnection across the Alps to Italy, in an effort to ease congestion on the existing lines to the largest importer of French electricity.
Germany's plans to pay companies to shift power capacity to a coal-fired reserve from 2017 may well breach EU rules, legal experts at the German parliament have found, a document seen by Reuters on Thursday showed.
The German government will announce on Thursday (2 July) a decision to order the shutdown of several coal-fired plants in order to reach its ambitious climate goals by 2020, according to government sources.
The German government says it will not provide capacity payments for fossil fuel power plants, but the country’s energy sector is insisting on assistance for its weak coal- and gas-fired power stations. EURACTIV Germany reports.
Europe's electricity system is not living up to its promises, according to a French advisory body to the prime minister, which published a report on Tuesday (28 January) largely blaming renewable energy subsidies for this failure.
Germany will reduce exemptions that big power-using firms have enjoyed from grid fees following EU criticism that they might amount to state aid and anger among consumers that industry was not sharing the cost of a shift to renewable energy.
A German power utility specialising in renewable energy was hit by a serious cyber-attack two weeks ago that lasted five days, knocking its internet communications systems offline, in the first confirmed digital assault against a European grid operator.