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The spatial dimension of the energy transition: European renewable energy sources - local resources and international exchange

: Kost, C.; Längle, S.


Gawel, Erik (Ed.):
The European Dimension of Germany’s Energy Transition : Opportunities and conflicts
Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2019
ISBN: 978-3-030-03373-6 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-030-03374-3 (Online)
ISBN: 3-030-03373-2
Book Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()

A single renewable energy power plant relies strongly on the availability of specific resources such as wind, solar, water, biomass and geothermal energy. Connected to the grid, however, the generation of all renewables in a certain area is summed up and the availability of a single resource is less important. Because cost-efficient systems benefit from using different resources which are distributed throughout Europe, recent studies have focused on analyzing the spatial dimension of resources. Renewable energy, however, is sourced and distributed locally. Decisions on investments in renewables and new power plants are therefore more decentralized and made by local investors. Grid integration and grid connection of each individual power plant is a basic requirement. On the other hand, exchanging electricity over longer distances via the energy grid requires action at national and international level (e.g. new transmission lines). With an increasing share of renewable energy in the electricity system, international electricity exchanges are increasing and this leads to more coordination between grid operators and utilities. Therefore, local resources can only be used efficiently if they are integrated into European electricity systems and exchanged between European countries. This paper discusses the interaction between local electricity generation from renewables and the international coordination required to allow renewable electricity to flow to consumers across Europe.