Birmingham smart grid expert pointed out: “Stronger electricity transmission grids and HVDC interconnectors needed to support large scale renewable energy generation integration”

Professor Xiao-Ping Zhang, Chair in Electrical Power Systems, Director of Smart Grid, Birmingham Energy Institute, University of Birmingham gave the invited talk entitled

European Electricity Interconnections and Cross-border Electricity Trade: Experiences, Opportunities and Challenges

in the 7th Webinar of Clean Energy Ministerial Regional and Global Energy Interconnection Initiative, 26th Aug 2020.

In this presentation, Professor Xiao-Ping Zhang shared the current experience and opportunities to promote European cross-border interconnections and cross-border cooperation in electricity trade in Europe with the integration of renewables into the electricity supply.

Finally Professor Xiao-Ping Zhang highlighted the evolution of European electricity network development opportunities to support the internal energy market. In addition, the economic benefits of super electricity interconnectors between European grid and China’s power grid have been discussed where a reduction of overall investment cost by over 30% with the interconnection in comparison to that without the interconnection can be achieved. It should be mentioned that the University of Birmingham has developed very efficient and reliable HVDC technology to support future HVDC interconnectors.

The webinar was moderated by Mr Phillip Cornell, energy consultant of World Bank, Senior Fellow of Atlantic Council. The in-depth dialogue and discussions on energy market reforms, electricity transmission development opportunities, the role of distribution system operators as well as how the European green deal can be implemented have been addressed.

It has been concluded that we will need a stronger European electricity grid to support the European internal market and renewable energy integration, and in this situation, super transmission interconnectors between continents should be on the agenda and we should pave the way to implement it.

Senior representatives from the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Secretariat, government representatives of member states, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), International Energy Agency (IEA), Dii (Desertec Industrial Initiative), Brazilian Electric Company, China Electricity Council, CIGRE as well as world-renowned experts and scholars attended the webinar and were involved in the discussions.

Notes to editor:


  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Birmingham Energy Institute: The Birmingham Energy Institute (BEI) draws on the broad capabilities and expertise at the University of Birmingham and its strong relationship with collaborators from academia and industry, to produce studies and policy documents addressing the challenges facing today’s energy system. The BEI is the focal point for the University and its national partners, to create change in the way we deliver, consume and think about energy. We have over 140 academics engaged in energy and energy related research and development. The Institute is driving technology innovation and developing the thinking required to solve the challenges facing the UK, as it seeks to develop sustainable energy solutions in transport, electricity and heat supply. Co-ordinated research, education and global partnerships are at the heart of our vision.


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