Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 14:39 UK

Trans-European power grid needed

By Sarah Mukherjee
Environment correspondent, BBC News

National grids are increasingly unfit for purpose

European countries must invest in new electricity grids to safeguard their power supplies, scientists have warned.

A report from the European Academies Science Advisory Council suggests current national grids are increasingly unfit for purpose.

Countries could struggle to meet energy requirements, and in particular their renewable energy targets, unless the grid is upgraded across the continent.

The authors of the report say a trans-European grid is needed.

In the past, the complex and hugely expensive system of generators, transmission grids and distribution networks has grown up as national networks.

But to meet targets on renewable energy, the scientists say a grid is required that will take energy from the areas with an abundance of sun, wind and tidal power to those without.

Power lines, often decades old, need upgrading to meet these new requirements. And Europe must train a new generation of grid engineers, the report urges.

One of the report's authors, Professor Michael Sterling, said it would mean substantial investment, but the new grid would vastly increase the stability of European energy supplies.

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