Correspondence received from CSP / Trec regarding " Proposed presentation of benefits and costs of European Supergrid by Dr Gregor Czisch"

 Proposed presentation of benefits and costs of European Supergrid by Dr Gregor Czisch

Dear Dave,

Thanks very much for sending this correspondence.

A couple of points about CSP and wind power:

Wind power has been supported for much longer than CSP and is much further down its cost-reduction curve than CSP. The TRANS-CSP report from the DLR calculates that CSP imports will be amongst the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, and that is allowing for transmission costs.
There is great potential for wind power in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as CSP.
As you say, the issue is something of a red herring. The important thing is to build a large-scale transmission grid spanning the whole of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. There is something about costs, benefits and affordability in Supergrid costs and benefits (PDF, 49 KB) and Interstate transmission superhighways: paving the way to a low-carbon future (PDF, 239 KB) and answers to possible worries about the security of supplies in DESERTEC: security of energy supplies (PDF, 40 KB). Also relevant is Clean power from deserts: what governments can do (PDF, 68 KB) and Kick-start and upgrade (PDF, 128 KB).



Dr Gerry Wolff PhD CEng

Coordinator of DESERTEC-UK, +44 (0)1248 712962,



To Don Foster, MP
Thanks Don,
We are aware of the CSP proposals – several of its protagonists  are Claverton members and they have given several presentations to the Claverton group already .
Czisch’s work runs a linear optimisation model on all candidate renewables and shows that at the moment, by far the cheapest means of providing renewable energy is wind energy, land based.  ie he has explicitly looked at CSP and his model shows a only modest fraction is economic compared to wind
Dr Mark Barrett has  of UCL also modelled CSP costs and come to the same conclusion.
However to an extent this is a red herring – the important things is to get European co operation to get an HVDC grid underway, because whatever way the power generating technology goes – Wind, CSP, nuclear, super critical coal, coal plus ccs, will benefit enormously from greater interconnection, due to the pooling of reserve plant, the reduction of plant cycling, using hte most economic plant at all times, and so on.
An HVDC supergrid could take about 10 years to construct, mainly due to way leaves and permitting issues, whereas wind turbines, CSP, large new coal plant can be constructed much more quickly.
The key then to a low carbon future is to get on with the supergrid – we can argue about what to populate it with in parallel.
To that extent then, I think it worth have Czisch talk, because we can then use it to draw the wider benefits to the  attention of politicians and civil servants, and the need for urgent action.
With kind regards
Dave Andrews
Claverton Energy Group


  1. Reply

    Developing energy storage capacity, aimed at bridging renewable energy seasonal outputs variation, should be given high priority.
    That may not be too much of a problem in the USA North East and Canada with the Great Lakes surface level differences, not to mention various options involving hydrogen from renewable energy.
    Peter Ravine

  2. Reply

    Peter – agree in general, but according to Czisch we have sufficient storage in europe say – we only need to link it up with a supergrid to share out not only the storage by the fact that it is generally windy somewhere.

    We also have to consider that since all the requred fossil stations have been self evidently built, why not continue to use them during the very lower periods of output even if it is coal?

    Would disagree with hydrogen as an end use fuel, as it is quite hopeless to store and put into vehicles – ammonia is much better and could be made (yes from hydrogn) and stored locally – then made back into electricity in high efficiency engine driven chp plant. – all proven tech.

    Thinking about it, you could make spare interseasonal wind energy into hydrogen, then ammonia, (as at Vermork since 1911) and then use it to run exisiting fossil stations….quite easy to store interseasonal ammonia volumes……Vast tanks of ammonia are no more dangerous than vast tanks of petrol (bunceield) or Flixborough (cyclohexane).


    Ps – Peter – was it your cunning plan to have the submereged compressed air / ammonia bladders? ?If so is the file in the Claverton Library?

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