Connecting the Continents


Connecting the Continents

Start Date

January 2018

End Date

December 2021

Funding Body

Energy Exemplar, SFI, MaREI


Maarten Brinkerink

Principal Investigators

Paul Deane

Project Manager

Paul Deane


One of the main goals of the Paris Climate Agreement is to limit the increase of the global average temperature to 1.5°C. To achieve this we need to radically decarbonise tomorrow’s energy system and produce more clean renewable electricity across the globe. As scientists, we do not yet fully understand how future power systems will be able to absorb extremely high levels of variable renewable electricity. In this project, we will assess the potential for global transnational grids (underwater power cables linking continental power systems) to allow global power systems to absorb and share renewable generation across continents. This research has a high societal and environmental impact with potential for global collaboration with international centres of excellence on climate change.


This project will outline the impacts that radical decarbonisation of electricity supply will have on the future global power system and will provide critical insights into how the concept of global transnational grids can help achieve the grand challenge of stabilizing global temperatures below 1.5˚C in an economically, as well as technically feasible manner.

Work Packages

Wp1-year 1: data procurement

Wp2- year 2: global model development and testing

Wp3-year 3-4: global model application to global transnational grids

Wp4 year 1-4: communications and outreach


Brinkerink M, Gallachóir BÓ, Deane P (2019). A comprehensive review on the benefits and challenges of global power grids and intercontinental interconnectors. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 107: doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2019.03.003

Deane P, Brinkerink M (2020). Connecting the continents—A global power grid. IEEE Power and Energy Magazine 18: 121-127. doi: 10.1109/MPE.2020.2974610

Brinkerink M, Deane P, Collins S, et al (2018). Developing a global interconnected power system model. Global Energy Interconnection 1: 330–343. doi: 10.14171/j.2096-5117.gei.2018.03.004

Press Coverage

2019, Irish scientists develop new global emissions computer model,

2019, Researchers develop model to map global power plant emissions, Power Engineering International.



Photo Gallery