While many countries depend on each other for the trade of goods and services, few would think countries could depend on each other for one of the most important resources on Earth—energy. A proposed electricity supergrid spanning across several European countries could mean not only improved power sources but also cleaner energy. Advocates of this energy plan suggest that a transnational supergrid could connect power sources like wind farms in Scotland and solar arrays in Spain to the many population centers scattered throughout Europe. The need for an expanded and upgraded power network in Europe is clear. However, the political, regulatory, and economic obstacles are formidable and will be tough to overcome.
Despite these challenges, the United Kingdom is working with countries including France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden to negotiate a plan for a network of underwater cables. This project would connect offshore wind farms and other clean power sources to nearby countries in need of energy. However, this project will take over a decade to complete but can definitely serve as a building block for a much larger European power grid. If implemented, the new energy network would provide many advantages for Europe and perhaps solve some problems as well. Improved energy connections between countries may also allow the practical use of wind and solar power on a large scale.
A broad network in Europe could solve one of renewable energy's biggest problems. Since renewable energy sources depend on uncontrollable environmental forces such as the wind and sun, these power sources are subject to periods where nature’s forces are absent meaning little energy can be produced. However, with a large energy network this problem can be minimized. For example, when the wind slows in the United Kingdom, it may still be strong in Germany. This would also reduce the need for expensive backup energy from power plants using natural gas or coal.
The proposed European power grid seems like a plan with countless benefits and advantages. However in order to be implemented, the project must pass many national energy regulations. After doing so, it would also need to be financed, an unlikely event in tough economic times for Europe. Although these challenges seem daunting, Europe’s energy network certainly has potential in the years to come and would provide a strong foundation for renewable energy sources on an international level.