ECN publication
Europe's future secure and sustainable infrastructure - e-Highway2050 project results
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Policy Studies 1-11-2015
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-O--15-059 Other
Number of pages: Full text:
52 Download PDF  

The European Commission, together with the member states, has defined clear targets for the decarbonisation of the European economy from 2020 up to 2050. These low carbon trends for the European economy have a direct impact on the design and upgrade of all the European energy infrastructures, and especially on the electricity transmission network due to its critical role for the pan-European power system. The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) addresses the developments of the pan-European electricity transmission network until 2030 in the Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP). Starting with the same network configuration for 2030, the e-Highway2050 research and innovation project goes until 2050: it deals with the transition paths for the whole power system, with a focus on the transmission network, to support the European Union in reaching a low carbon economy by 2050. Novel network planning methodologies have therefore been developed to address such long-term horizons and cover all the continent. They have been used extensively to identify key network developments for Europe. The five very contrasted energy scenarios provide an envelope of the possible future evolution of the European power system while meeting the 2050 low carbon economy orientation. The methodology relies on extensive numerical simulations of a model of the pan-European transmission network (made of approximately 100 regional and interconnected clusters): these simulations support an estimation of the benefi ts of grid expansion, thanks to a modelling of both generation and grid constraints. The robustness is guaranteed by a Monte-Carlo approach covering probabilistically various climatic years. The simulations show that the 2030 network is not sufficient to face the 2050 energy scenarios. Indeed, during significant periods, grid congestions would prevent some available generation to reach the load. Especially, huge volumes of renewable energy sources (RES) would be curtailed and compensated by expensive thermal generation emitting CO2.

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