Toward a sustainable future –
By 2050 cheap oil will no longer be available and Europe’s internal reserves will be exhausted. An increasing proportion of primary energy production will be from renewables such as solar, wind, tidal and biomass possibly supplemented by nuclear, natural gas and coal. We must rely on new energy carriers such as hydrogen, biogas or synfuels and liquid biofuels. These carriers will complement electricity as energy vectors, enabling some degree of energy efficiency optimisation, both on a local and a larger scale. A decentralised electricity generation infrastructure powered by a broad spectrum of renewable and clean technologies with a strong fuel cell component will have been created. The power network will largely be based upon self-contained nodes, each consisting of renewable and/or fuel cell systems. The advantages of this decentralised system arise from lower transmission losses, higher total energy efficiency and improved energy security. These nodes will be supported by a high value network powered by advanced thermal or nuclear systems, hydropower, buffered wind power and fuel cell systems.