[source] Overview border-crossing power exchanges.
In 2007, the EU was importing 82% of its oil and 57% of its gas, which then made it the world’s leading importer of these fuels. Russia, Canada, Australia, Niger and Kazakhstan were the five largest suppliers of nuclear materials to the EU, supplying more than 75% of the total needs in 2009. In 2015, the EU imports 53% of the energy it consumes.
The European Union has a decarbonisation policy that aims at phasing out most fossil fuels by 2050 (original goal: 95% cut from 1990 levels). Purpose: minimization climate change and help keeping global warming under 2 °C.
[wikipedia.org] – Energy policy of the European Union
Renewable energy sources, that are supposed to replace fossil fuel, are notoriously intermittent. This requires a continental grid where large amounts of energy can be transported from one country to another. In 2002 the EU decided that by 2020 every member state should be able to acquire at least 10% of its electricity needs from neighboring states. Currently 22 out of 28 EU member states are on track, c.q. have already achieved that aim.
[energypost.eu] – The Great Grid Special: where is Europe going with its grids?
In the 2014 the EU proposed to extend the 2020-10% target to 2030-15%:
[ec.europa.eu] – Electricity interconnection targets
[ec.europa.eu] – Commission launches new electricity interconnection targets expert group
Long distance electricity transport over thousands of kilometers is extremely cheap and efficient, with costs of US$ 0.005–0.02 / kWh. As of 1980, the longest cost-effective distance for direct-current transmission was determined to be 7,000 kilometres (4,300 miles). The consequence is that it is possible to contemplate the design of intercontinental grids, where offshore wind energy from Northern Europe (North Sea, Irish Sea and Baltic) can be combined with abundant solar energy from Northern Africa, the Sahara and even Saudi-Arabia (ignoring political aspects).
[wikipedia.org] – Electric power transmission
It is these kind of considerations that have led to the idea of the “European Super Grid”
[wikipedia.org] – European super grid
Including Northern Africa into a European Supergrid. Technically feasible, but politically sensitive.