by Wen Xiqiang
LONDON, May 9 (Xinhua) — The global energy internet is a promising way to solve the challenges of climate change and global sustainable energy supply, said Prof. Xiao-Ping Zhang, director of Smart Grid at the Birmingham Energy Institute.
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. However, in this agreement, there is a lack of a clear plan to implement this agreement.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Zhang said that the plan for global energy internet presented by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the General Assembly of the United Nations on Sept. 26, 2015, is actually a sustainable energy supply road map for the world.
It will be able to help make the 2015 Paris Climate Change agreement implementable and would transform the future global energy supply systems to sustainable renewable energy supply systems that can be shared globally and locally, he added.
“The global energy internet would change the ways of energy trade, sharing of energy resources and developing of new collaborative business models to deal with climate change effectively and efficiently while energy resources can be shared globally as well as locally,” Zhang said, adding: “Global energy internet will make the world a global sustainable energy village.”
Zhang said the Global Energy Internet solution would bring tremendous collaborative and trade opportunities between countries. Pipelines and power lines are being built to develop EU-wide networks for gas and electricity in order to implement the EU internal energy market and promote energy trade.
“The European Commission has asked all the member countries to have an installed interconnection capacity of electricity not less than 15 percent of its national generating capacity by 2020,” Zhang added.
The global energy internet will also need innovative renewable energy integration technologies, smart grids, energy storage as well as new materials.
“The development of these new technologies will need global collaboration and hence would be in everyone’s interest to work together technically and financially,” Zhang said.
There are also education opportunities to teach courses related to technologies and methods for the global energy internet, he said
“The global energy network would bring global sustainable low-carbon energy economy which could sustain global economy growth in the long term,” Zhang summarized.
In order to push forward the global energy internet, global governance and leadership is needed, he said.
The EU’s energy union, established by the European Commission in 2015, coordinates energy policy, efficiency, interconnection road map and measures. “I am expecting there will be more such regional energy unions to establish and play the role of leadership in building up regional energy interconnection,” Zhang said.
Next steps are to identify regional interconnection needs between neighboring countries, provide preliminary designs, put forward business investment models and construct energy interconnection projects, he added.
Energy networks between continents should be based on real needs and viable commercial business models, Zhang pointed out.