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18 Aug 2020, 14:15
Alex Dziadosz

Decentralised European power systems could offer better public participation – study

Clean Energy Wire / pv magazine

A decentralised model for European renewable power generation would better enable public participation in the green energy transition while potentially only moderately increasing costs, a study by the Potsdam Institution for Transformative Sustainability Research (IASS Potsdam) argues. The study analyses the technical and financial aspects of electricity generation on continental, national and regional levels to examine whether smaller supply systems are actually more expensive than large systems - such as huge photovoltaic systems in sunny countries and large wind farms on the coasts of the North and Baltic seas and the Atlantic. The study confirmed that Europe-wide networks would indeed be the cheaper option. But smaller systems are only modestly more expensive if regional and international fluctuations can be balanced through trade between network operators. 

Arguments for a continental system pointing to low costs, good compensation options for fluctuations and efficient use of resources regardless of location “cannot be dismissed out of hand,” pv magazine quotes lead author Tim Tröndle as saying. “However, the energy transition is very much shaped by political interests and citizen participation. Therefore, the possibilities of smaller systems must also be thoroughly examined,” he adds.

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