It was a historic milestone – on 16 March this year, operators synchronised Ukraine’s electricity grid with the European network.
For a country under assault from Russia, it was a vital step to ensuring interconnection with the EU’s power grid. Moreover, Member States will be able to buy excess electricity from Ukraine once operators iron out the final technicalities. This will be key to making up the shortfall from reduced fossil fuel imports.
REPowerEU, the Commission’s plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels, highlights that an extra €29 billion needs to be invested in the power grid by 2030. This is the cost of making the grid fit for increased electricity use and production.
In contrast, our landmark Connecting the Dots study found that the cost of making the grid fit-for-purpose in an increasingly decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised power system could top €400 billion.
The biggest investment driver is modernisation. However, decentralisation, extreme weather and the electrification of transport will also put increased pressure on the grid.
Indeed, cross-border electricity interconnections are a cost-effective way to ensure secure and affordable electricity supplies. Operators successfully synchronised Moldova’s grid with the European network on the same day as Ukraine’s.
Elsewhere, the Baltic states are also speeding up their interconnection with the European network to increase their energy security in these uncertain times.
Work is expected to be completed by 2025 at the very latest. From that point, external actors will not be able to threaten the energy security of the region by using the electricity trade or system operation.
In addition, work is already underway on key electricity interconnectors. The Biscay Bay electricity interconnector between France and Spain aims to increase the interconnection capacity with the Iberian Peninsula. Elsewhere, the the Celtic interconnector will link France and Ireland, and the EuroAsia interconnector will connect Greece and Cyprus.
These interconnectors will effectively end Ireland and Cyprus’s isolation from the EU’s electricity grid. Moreover, this interconnectivity will support the integration of renewable energy sources while improving security of supply.
Don’t miss our session on the role of DSOs in the grid investment toolbox on Day 2 of next month’s Power Summit. You can find the full programme here.