Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

ERMINE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 22825
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Italy

Now and then – enhancing Europe’s electricity supply

European electrical grids were developed primarily in the 1960s and 1970s during a period of dominance by energy monopolies. The combination of age, lack of competition potentially resulting in lower standards and the integration of European countries to form the European Union highlight the need for focused research and planning to update and enhance the European electricity grids of tomorrow.
Now and then – enhancing Europe’s electricity supply
The ‘Electricity research road map in Europe’ (Ermine) project was designed to carry out an exhaustive survey and prepare a final report regarding the latest trends and future requirements for electricity research and technology development (RTD) programmes to meet the needs and specifications of the European electricity sector in the next 20–25 years.

The Ermine project focused on electricity technologies and the research needs of the enlarged Europe (EU-27) with goals of energy efficiency, safety and sustainability. As such, team members defined the main technological obstacles to reaching the aforementioned goals, the most effective research paths to overcome the obstacles and alternative paths taking into account issues of time and cost.

Regarding energy generation, sustainable fossil fuels are key to short-term goals, although large-scale operation is costly. Renewable energy sources should receive increased funding to achieve long-term objectives.

Huge investments in RTD are necessary to optimise the current European electrical system. The top priority is to ensure continuity and quality of supply, with a focus on enhancing capabilities to respond to disturbances and to restore operation in case of extended failures. Efforts should focus on dispersed generation, with increased use of renewable energy sources to complement bulk production from fossil fuels and nuclear generators. Enhanced energy storage capabilities will also help to ensure steady supply during fluctuations in demand.

The end-use sector must continue to focus on development of household appliances with decreased energy consumption and industrial processes with increased efficiency. Improved management of demand will enable generation to be less dependent on fluctuations in load.

In summary, the Ermine project produced a roadmap for enhancing the current electrical grid of the EU-27 and provided specific recommendations for future RTD to ensure quality and continuity of supply for the next 20–25 years.

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