Renewable electricity autarky

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Autarky is

Can sun and wind provide all electricity needed in your European country, region, or municipality?

This map visualises the possibility for renewable electricity autarky in Europe — for all municipalities, all regions, all countries, and all of Europe. No matter where you live, here you can find out whether enough electricity from sun and wind can be generated in your region.

But what does it mean to be autarkic?

Possibility for autarky means being able to fulfil local electricity demand with 100% renewable electricity from solar and wind power generated locally. It makes it possible for entire communities to produce their own electricity — for example using solar systems on the roofs and community wind farms — and then consume it.

Can Europe be powered by sun and wind alone?

The potential of solar and wind energy is large enough to supply Europe with 100% renewable electricity. In many cases at regional or municipal level, autarky is possible using renewable electricity only. However, some densely populated metropolis will not be able to supply themselves with 100% renewable electricity. A possible solution for these places is to import electricity from the surrounding region.

What does the map show me?

The map shows the potential for renewable electricity autarky in Europe for individual countries, regions and municipalities. The potential shown is based on technical and some social constraints: for example, we do not allow electricity to be produced in nature conservation areas and we also prohibit open field solar systems on arable land. Therefore, we call this potential the “technical-social potential”. You can find more information in our scientific article (information below).

We use different colours to represent the possibility for electricity autarky. We consider autarky here as impossible only if local electricity demand exceeds the technical potential:

How do I use the map?

You can zoom in and out to find out about the potential of renewable electricity generation and whether an area can supply itself with it. Depending on the area you look at, you will notice that the colour of the area may change: from dark green — areas in which autarky is likely — to dark red — areas in which autarky is not possible. If you hoover over the area of your choice, you will receive further information in the top right box: You will see whether electrical autarky is possible. You can also see how many people live there, how much electricity they need, and the potential to generate electricity from sun and wind. Have fun trying it out!

Where do I get more information about the project?

The data is taken from the peer-reviewed article: Tröndle, T., Pfenninger, S., Lilliestam, J., 2019. Home-made or imported: on the possibility for renewable electricity autarky on all scales in Europe. Energy Strategy Reviews 26. . If you make use of the data in academic work, please cite the article. You can find out more about us and the research of our working group Energy Transition Dynamics at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam on our website .

Did you find an issue in the data? Please report it.

© 2018-2020 Tim Tröndle, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam and Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zürich