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Image: ENTSO-E

Europe’s electricity networks need 93GW additional cross-border exchange and 485GWh storage capacity by 2040 to meet climate targets, ENTSO-E finds.

The study by the electricity transmission system operators’ association, as part of the latest Ten Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) 2020, identifies 154 transmission projects and 26 storage projects that are needed by 2040 to meet the Paris Agreement.

Among these are eight future transmission projects and six more storage projects than in the last TYNDP 2018, indicating new power system needs and the growing role of storage in the energy system.

Collectively these projects generate an increase in socio-economic welfare by €7.3-13.2 billion per year, according to ENTSO-E.

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The TYNDP report says that addressing the identified needs by 2040 would represent €45 billion of investment, which would translate directly into jobs and growth.

“Addressing system needs puts Europe on track to realize the Green Deal, with 110TWh of curtailed energy saved and 53Mtons of CO2 emissions avoided each year until 2040,” the report states.

Up to 1.7 million jobs are projected during the construction and commissioning of the projects.

Transmission projects

The 154 transmission projects are comprised of 27 in the North Sea Offshore Grid, 57 in western Europe, 53 in central eastern and south eastern Europe and 17 in the Baltic energy market interconnection corridor.

The majority of them are cross-border involving two or more countries, while 57 projects are internal projects but considered of European relevance.

ENTSO-E says the TYNDP 2020 transmission portfolio represents over 46,000km of potential additional cables and lines, of which 19,000 km are AC and 27,000km are DC.

Just over half of the investments would be overhead line development, with underground and subsea cables making up one quarter. Other investments include substations, reactive compensation devices, phase shifting transformer or converter stations.

The report notes that the rapid advancement of DC technology has led to improved uptake of this technology and seen its portfolio share grow since TYNDP 2018. In addition, the need to increase public acceptance of transmission projects is driving the transition from overhead lines to cable technology also onshore.

Currently 32 transmission projects are under construction, while 44 are undergoing the permitting process. In the past two years, 17% of the transmission projects suffered delays, which is similar to that of previous TYNDPs.

Storage projects

The 26 storage projects include 19 using pumped hydro technology along with four using compressed air and three electrochemical storage.

None of the projects has started the construction phase, although 15 of them are either in the permitting phase or are planned but have not yet started permitting. Seven projects, all pumped hydro, have indicated delays in their implementation in the past two years.

The report notes that for the first time, the TYNDP 2020 portfolio includes a pilot cross-sector project, HYPE. This French project is aimed at converting a fleet of 50,000 taxis or taxi-like vehicles in the Paris region into fuel cell electric vehicles by 2030 with the development of a local infrastructure for the production, storage and distribution of green hydrogen articulated around a network of semi-centralised units connected to the transmission grid.

The project is primarily an urban transport rather than an energy storage project with the majority of its future costs and benefits expected to be related to the transport activity. However, the energy storage/demand management side of the project is an integral part of the promoter’s rationale and has a non-negligible potential impact on the electricity system.

The TYNDP 2020 power system needs study and report are out for consultation.