Delivering Sustainable Energy in the European Context: Challenges and Solutions

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Limiting GHG emissions, and thus mitigating climate change, requires radically improving the sustainability of energy systems, most significantly by increasing the share of renewable energy.Reaching this objective requires strong policy actions and planning, in addition to appropriate technology choices made by energy utilities. This thesis considers the question of delivering sustainable energy systems in the European context, focusing on the electricity sector. The scope includes advancing renewable energy but also other measures to increase energy sustainability, such as energy storage. A variety of perspectives are taken, with different geographic and sectoral contexts. The overall aim is to ascertain what are the key measures and best practices for improving energy system sustainability.The starting point is the EU 2009 Renewable Energy Directive (RED I) and its implementation of renewables targets for 2020. The progress of EU Member States towards reaching these targets is assessed, with a regional focus on the Nordic & Baltic states. The results indicate that effective,stable planning and policy support are required to advance renewables and that a broad portfolio of RES technologies is most appropriate, instead of a dominant reliance on a single technology.While the studied countries have met or are on track to meet their 2020 targets, a wider analysis indicates a number of EU Member States will not meet these objectives. This raises the question of the credibility of EU energy policy if these legally binding targets are not properly enforced.A key result with respect to bioenergy is that the future growth of the sector will be limited by the restricted primary biomass resource in the EU and meeting biomass sustainability requirements.Turning to a focus upon islanded power systems, the scope of this research is expanded to improving overall sustainability of energy systems. Beginning with a benchmarking analyses of 28 islanded systems, a range of measures are identified for improving energy system sustainability.These include peak shaving and development of interconnectors, in addition to the development of renewables. This leads directly to an analysis of the use of electrical energy storage (EES) on the island of Jersey. While this analysis is limited to use of EES for the specific objectives of the studied island, the effectiveness of energy storage is also reflected upon for broader objectives such as RES integration. Furthermore, other measures for RES integration are also considered. In summary, delivering sustainable, low carbon energy scenarios requires a wide range of measures, which existing modelling approaches do not always identify in order of cost efficiency.
Translated title of the contributionDelivering Sustainable Energy in the European Context: Challenges and Solutions
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Syri, Sanna, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-64-0209-3
Electronic ISBNs978-952-64-0210-9
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • renewable energy
  • bioenergy
  • EU energy policy
  • islanded power systems
  • electrical energy storage


Dive into the research topics of 'Delivering Sustainable Energy in the European Context: Challenges and Solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this