Lib Dem MEP Sir Graham Watson pushes European Commissioners for renewable energy supergrid
UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson, Chairman of a global network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties campaigning to increase government investment in renewable energy and electricity supergrids called the Climate Parliament, will today hold meetings with two different European Commissioners to push for a European renewable energy supergrid.
Sir Graham will lead a group of core MEPs to meet with European Commissioner for research, innovation and science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and European Commissioner for regional policy Johannes Hahn. Ahead of the meeting, Sir Graham said:
"Our meetings today are about how we can use the EU's budget for research and regional policy to finance a surge in renewable energy in Europe and an electricity supergrid to connect Europe's remote sources of renewable energy together into one stable, reliable and 100% renewable source of power for all."
"This campaign comes at a crucial time, as the EU's overall spending plans for the 2014-2020 budgetary period are being drawn up as we speak. We are calling for €2 bn a year for research and €3 bn per year from structural funds for building a European supergrid and supporting large-scale renewable energy installations."
Note to editors:
Last week the Commons Energy & Climate Change Select Committee published their report on developing a European Super Grid highlighting that it could bring a host of economic benefits (including tens of thousands of new jobs in the offshore renewable industry) and could allow the UK to become a net exporter of energy. According to the report, it would also deliver a 25% capital cost saving on connecting each new offshore wind or marine energy farm compared to connecting each site individually.
Commenting on the report last week, Sir Graham Watson's said:
"The House of Commons has finally seen the light and realised that a European supergrid is the way forward to provide our continent with a reliable and 100% renewable supply of electricity for all."
"The basic problem with most forms of clean energy is that they stop and start. But if you link Scottish wind, solar from the Sahara and wave power from the Northern seas together, and back it up with hydro and biomass, you have a stable source of electricity."
"But the MPs on the committee seem to have forgotten that Europe has EU-level institutions and governance. They seem to be recommending that Britain set about doing this on its own with bilateral deals with our neighbouring countries. Doesn't it make more sense to plan, finance and build a European supergrid at the EU level?"