23 May 2024, 13:59
Carolina Kyllmann

Investments in Europe's distribution grids must double to 67 bln by 2050 – association

Clean Energy Wire

Investments in Europe's distribution grids need to double to 67 billion euros per year by 2050, a report commissioned by electricity industry association Eurelectric found. Failing to modernise the union's electricity infrastructure could jeopardise 74 percent of prospective grid connection requests, according to the report by consultancy EY. "It is more important to have the infrastructure in place than to reach every single renewables target," head of energy company E.ON and Eurelectric president Leonhard Birnbaum said at a press conference. The system's capacity to absorb renewables is not unlimited, Birnbaum said, highlighting that while adding renewable capacity is important, there should be a bigger focus on infrastructure. Investments in Europe's distribution grids currently average around 33 billion euros per year.

On its path to becoming climate neutral, the EU aims to electrify sectors including heating, transport and industry. A large share of the increase in renewables, electric vehicles and heat pumps will be connected to the distribution grids. "It should become a political priority to recognise the increased importance of electricity in our energy systems," Eurelectric's head Kristian Ruby said. Connection requests are increasing faster than grid modernisation takes place, and will continue to grow as heating and transport electrify, the report highlighted.

A future energy landscape largely based on electricity requires systems capable of dealing with increased demand and decentralised supply, as well as systems that are resilient to more severe extreme weather events and increasing cyber-attacks. Investments in the modernisation of the grid would accelerate Europe's decarbonisation by speeding up electrification, as well as create jobs, bring energy savings and increase the reliability of Europe's electricity, the report said. Electricity currently makes up around one fifth of Europe's final energy use.

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