Developing a reliable wind 'super grid' for Europe

December 17, 2014
Developing a reliable wind ‘super grid’ for Europe

EU researchers are involved in the development of a pan-European 'super grid' capable of dispersing wind power across Member States. This will bring more renewable energy into homes and businesses, help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and enable Europe to move closer towards achieving energy independence. This final point is an important consideration given that half the energy consumed in Europe in 2012 was imported from outside the EU.

The EU-funded MEDOW project, which runs until March 2017, is a training project that has identified the development of a direct current (DC) grid as an efficient way of transmitting and sharing . This pan-European grid, rather than single point-to-point connections, will reinforce reliability and help balance power supply and demand.

The concept makes practical sense. While new wind farms are increasingly being placed offshore where wind speeds are higher and turbines less intrusive, this means that power is generated far from where it is used. Finding more efficient ways of transporting power to onshore grids will help achieve significant cost savings. The idea of a European renewables power grid has gained support from both the academic and environmental community.

This DC grid is based on newly emerging technology and will be the focal point of the offshore super grid. The MEDOW project, which began in 2013, will study operational issues such as DC power flow, DC relaying protection and dynamic stability. DC grids for transmission and onshore AC grid interconnection will also be investigated. Various simulation platforms and experimental test rigs will be used in the project.

Researchers are confident that the potential is there. The EU's sector has enjoyed average annual growth of 15.6 % over the last 17 years, while a recent European Environment Agency report, entitled Europe's Onshore and Offshore Wind Energy Potential, stated that European wind capacity in 2020 could be three times greater than Europe's expected electricity demand, rising to a factor of seven by 2030.

MEDOW is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network project and involves researchers from five universities and six industrial organisations. Each institution in the consortium is involved on account of their expertise in the manufacturing, design, operation, and control of multi-terminal DC grids. Three visiting scientists of international stature have been appointed to further strengthen the training aspect of MEDOW, which has received EUR 3.9 million in EU funding through the FP7 Programme.

Indeed, while searching for a solution, the project is helping to train early career researchers and will create a pool of researchers and operators developing DC grids, and nurture expertise in academia, research institutes and manufacturers. These researchers will receive interdisciplinary training in different countries to improve career opportunities. Research results will then be disseminated through publications and direct application in the industries.

In this way, the MEDOW project team hopes that their research will make a significant contribution towards the establishment of a pan-European electricity transmission network, delivering a single European electricity market, developing sustainable energy technology and creating jobs.

Explore further: European grid prepares for massive integration of renewables

More information: MEDOW:

Related Stories

European grid prepares for massive integration of renewables

October 31, 2014

Today, the ancient city of Rome welcomed an important new initiative for the large-scale integration of grids and of renewables sources into Europe's energy mix, with nearly 40 leading organisations from research, industry, ...

Energy transition project moves into its second phase

November 27, 2014

Siemens is studying new concepts for optimizing the cost-effectiveness and technical performance of energy systems with distributed and fluctuating electricity production. The associated IRENE research project is now being ...

Power to the people, by the people

June 12, 2013

European researchers are investigating 'smarter' solutions to meet growing demand for electricity and fundamental changes in the way power is produced and consumed.

Recommended for you

A not-quite-random walk demystifies the algorithm

December 15, 2017

The algorithm is having a cultural moment. Originally a math and computer science term, algorithms are now used to account for everything from military drone strikes and financial market forecasts to Google search results.

US faces moment of truth on 'net neutrality'

December 14, 2017

The acrimonious battle over "net neutrality" in America comes to a head Thursday with a US agency set to vote to roll back rules enacted two years earlier aimed at preventing a "two-speed" internet.

FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit ...

The wet road to fast and stable batteries

December 14, 2017

An international team of scientists—including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory—has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.