On 25 January, local time, the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), initiated and founded in China, signed an MOU with the Royal Academy of Engineering in London to jointly support and enable open dialogue on the development of sustainable energy for all. The signing coincided with the Global Energy Interconnection Seminar, hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The keynote speech at the Global Energy Interconnection Seminar was delivered by Liu Zhenya, Chairman of GEIDCO and the China Electricity Council, and explored GEIDCO’s vision for a Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) system that provides a reliable supply of clean power while driving economic growth.
“Great Britain could become a hub for power exchange in Northern Europe from Iceland and the Nordic countries to Spain and Italy in the South,” said Liu Zhenya.
GEIDCO aims to establish an important platform for the large-scale global exploitation, transmission and utilization of clean energy through the creation of a clean and efficient “super power grid” that connects energy grids across borders and continents. The development of a GEI system has been incorporated into the Framework of the “Belt and Road” Initiative and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The vision for a GEI system was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the UN Development Summit in September 2015. GEIDCO has been committed to promoting the development of the initiative to meet global power demand with clean and green alternatives. Headquartered in Beijing, China, GEIDCO currently has 365 members across 45 countries and regions.
David Thomlinson FREng, Chair of the International Committee of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “I would like to congratulate GEIDCO on their drive and commitment to explore potentially transformative ideas and to build global links around sustainable energy provision for the world.”
Europe is actively promoting the development of clean energy with significant progress. On 17 January, the European Parliament voted in favor of raising the EU's 2030 renewable energy target to 35%, 8 percentage points higher than the 27% target previously proposed by the European Commission and the European Council.
During his keynote speech, Liu Zhenya outlined his vison for a general layout for a European Energy Interconnection system, which included the construction of a backbone grid to support the development and the need to promote the introduction of clean power from Africa and Asia into an intercontinental grid.
There are a number of initiatives in place across Europe to promote the use of renewable energy resources, including the UK government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which builds on the UK’s strong carbon reduction leadership to combat climate change while driving economic growth.
The UK also has the world’s largest offshore wind power market with several Chinese invested projects. In December 2017, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the National Energy Administration signed the Sino-UK Clean Energy Partnership Implementation Action Plan, announcing that the two sides will cooperate in carrying out joint research and innovation in the development of offshore wind power.
Professor John Loughhead OBE FREng, Chief Scientific Adviser at BEIS, envisioned the future of energy and power in UK as undergoing significant change in the coming twenty years. “As we pursue our decarbonisation and clean growth strategies, novel means to supply and trade power will be of great importance in the energy systems of the future,” he said.
Liu Zhenya said: “If we can use 7.7% of the total area of the Saharan Desert for solar energy or a quarter of the total area of Greenland for wind power, the future global demand for electric power can be fully met.” He also highlighted that building a GEI system based on Ultra High Voltage (UHV) technologies could address major global challenges such as energy and resource shortage, environmental pollution, climate change and limited access to electricity, whilst promoting optimized allocation of clean energy globally and pushing forward the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
UHV technology was awarded the 2018 National Science and Technology Award, China’s highest national award of science and technology. Currently, 21 UHV projects have been built and put into operation in more than 20 provinces in China, forming energy transmission channels from West to East and from North to South.