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Greenpeace Report Shows Europe Could Convert to Almost Entirely Renewable Energy Resources by 2050

January 26, 2011

We’ve known for years that smart grid management is important.

A new report shows just how significant updating the grid can be.

As remarkable as it sounds, the report, ‘Battle of the Grids,’ produced by engineering consultancy Energynautics on behalf of Greenpeace, concludes that Europe can convert to almost entirely renewable energy-supplied electricity by 2050 using smart grid management.

More specifically, the report uses extensive computer modeling to show that:

1. Large-scale integration of renewable electricity in the European grid (68 percent by 2030 and a whopping 99.5 percent by 2050) is both technically and economically feasible with a high level of security of supply, even under the most extreme climatic conditions with low wind and low solar radiation.

2. Of course, this type of integration would require significant changes in the energy mix. For instance, in the model presented in the report, by 2030, gas plants provide most of the non-renewable electricity and serve as a flexible backup for wind and solar power. Then, between 2030 and 2050, natural gas as a fuel is phased out, as are 90 percent of the existing coal and nuclear plants.

The report certainly makes provocative reading and provides an intriguing roadmap towards a more sustainable future. To me, there’s no doubt that a smarter, more efficient Europe-wide grid would unock vast new technological, business and consumer opportunities.

As the authors conclude, “A real Energy [R]evolution would tap into Europe’s massive potential for energy savings and renewable energy and put it on a pathway to provide clean, secure and affordable energy and create millions of jobs.”

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