World needs $700 bil­lion in power grid up­grades

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

DUBAI

The world's 16 largest power grids need to in­vest $700 bil­lion over the next 10 years to cope with a ris­ing share of re­new­able en­ergy in ma­ture economies and with soar­ing de­mand in emerg­ing nations, French power grid ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

The 16 grids, which trans­port 70 per­cent of the world's elec­tric­ity de­mand, ex­pect global de­mand to jump 50 per­cent by 2022, when re­new­able en­ergy will equal the ca­pac­ity of 250 medium-sized nu­clear re­ac­tors. "In North Amer­ica and in Europe, the need for in­vest­ment is a ne­ces­sity to con­nect dozens of thou­sands of megawatts of so­lar and wind power," Do­minique Mail­lard, head of RTE, said in an in­ter­view on the side­lines of a meet­ing of the GO 15 lobby, which unites grid op­er­a­tors from the United States, South Africa, China, France and other coun­tries.

The op­er­a­tors, which op­er­ate 2.2 mil­lion km of trans­mis­sion lines, say grids will need to be en­hanced to en­sure the safe con­nec­tion and trans­port of re­new­able en­ergy.

"If we don't suc­ceed in de­vel­op­ing net­works prop­erly, ei­ther the en­ergy tran­si­tion will re­main a pretty ex­pres­sion that was never ap­plied, or we will run the risk of liv­ing dan­ger­ously," Mail­lard said, re­fer­ring to a height­ened risk of black­outs. RTE, fully owned by EDF, plans to in­vest some 15 bil­lion eu­ros ($19.2 bil­lion) by 2020. The Euro­pean Cli­mate Foun­da­tion, a pri­vately funded or­gan­i­sa­tion, said last year com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ments in the Euro­pean Union would have to spend 46 bil­lion eu­ros on grid sys­tems by 2020 and an­other 68 bil­lion eu­ros by 2030. While fi­nanc­ing such sums could prove dif­fi­cult be­cause of the eco­nomic cri­sis, the main prob­lem in Europe is the widen­ing gap be­tween in­vest­ment de­ci­sions and the ac­tual com­mis­sion­ing of projects be­cause of le­gal ap­peals from lo­cal peo­ple.

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