EU Commission Approves EUR 86.6 Mln for Alstom’s SuperGrid Institute
The European Commission has concluded that the €86.6 million aid, granted by France to the “Supergrid Institut pour la transition énergétique” for a research project aimed at developing a new generation of long-distance energy transmission networks, complies with the EU rules on State aid.
Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice President responsible for competition, stated: “Securing energy independence and reducing CO2 emissions in Europe are key priorities for the Commission. The SuperGrid project pursues these very objectives. The project will have an undeniable scientific impact, while the distortions of competition will be limited.”
Initiated and coordinated by Alstom, The SuperGrid Institute is headquartered in Villeurbanne (France) and combines the expertise from companies in the power sector and academic partners. Its work is dedicated to expand search technologies for future transport networks and mass storage of electric power that will improve energy management and favour renewable energy integration.
The SuperGrid networks will use high-voltage direct and alternating current (up to a million volts) designed for the large-scale transmission of energy from renewable sources, many of them offshore, that are far from the centres of consumption. These networks, together with flexible storage facilities, will make it possible to manage the intermittent nature of renewables and will ensure network stability and security.
R&D work will be necessary on long-distance energy transmission (including a new generation of cables), new transformers (including replacement of SF6 – sulfur hexaflouride, a highly toxic gas currently used in gas-insulated substations) and storage and stabilisation technologies. The expertise of a number of partners (6 public and 6 private) will be harnessed to develop the supergrid technologies. If the R&D projects prove successful, patent licences will be sold to interested industrial firms on market terms.
Press release; Image: Alstom