Completing the circuit –interconnecting the electricity grids of the Mediterranean

Completing the circuit –interconnecting the electricity grids of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Electric Ring, MedRing, seeks to interconnect the Euro-Med electric power transmission grids of 22 countries around the Mediterranean basin.

MedRing involves linking electric power grids from Spain to Morocco, through the whole of North Africa, and onwards towards the Levant and Turkey. From Turkey, the ring would then link back into the European grid via Greece.

The underlying objective of the project is to increase energy security in the Euro-Med region, while enabling more efficient power flows at lower costs and with a need for fewer power plants, especially as demand for power is set to expand rapidly in the southern and eastern Mediterranean in the coming years.

Diversifying energy sources, securing supply

MedRing is partly a response to recent EU policy developments which seek to diversify the primary energy mix for electricity generation – to include more renewable energy sources, such as the huge solar and wind power potential of the Mediterranean region – and the 2009 Directive on renewable energy which enables EU Member States to import electricity from renewable energy sources from third countries.

Already, the electricity grids of some of the 22 countries have been linked up, including Morocco-Spain, Morocco-Algeria-Tunisia, and Libya-Egypt. Connection trials have taken place between Tunisia and Libya, and between Turkey and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, among others. A full overview of the current state of play is available here.

In April 2010, a special study identified the final gaps in the MedRing and ways of completing the circuit. Later this year, the European Commission is due to release a Communication outlining a plan for completing MedRing’s missing links.