Power to the people

Recently I read a book by Michael Pye about how the North Sea made us who we are (okay both my parents were born near the North Sea). The book is a charming account about the interactions amongst the various communities over the centuries and how much it has shaped Europe. Now we have Joshua Hill writing on the CleanTechnica website about an agreement to develop a large renewable energy hub for the North Sea region. That hub could supply as many as 70 to 100 million Europeans with renewable energy by 2050. The North Sea never fails to fascinate us.

 

New North Sea Wind Power Hub Could Supply 70-100 Million People With Renewable Energy By

Three European transmission system operators have signed a trilateral agreement this week that intends to develop a large renewable European electricity system in the North Sea, the North Sea Wind Power Hub, which could supply as many as 70 to 100 million Europeans with renewable energy by 2050.

Announced this week, three European transmission system operators — TenneT TSO B.V. in the Netherlands, Energinet in Denmark, and TenneT TSO GmbH in Germany — have signed a trilateral agreement for the development of a large renewable energy European electricity system in the North Sea. Specifically, the broad consortium will look to investigate the possibility of developing one or more “Power Link Islands” — a large offshore connection point for thousands of future wind turbines.

Such a North Sea Wind Power Hub, developed at an optimal location in shallow waters and amidst optimal wind conditions, could eventually supply up to 70 to 100 million Europeans with renewable energy by 2050.

“Building one or more artificial islands in the middle of the North Sea sounds like a science fiction project, but it could actually be a very efficient and affordable way for the North Sea countries to meet the future demand for more renewable electricity,” added Torben Glar Nielsen, CTO of Energinet.

Such a project could end up accommodating up to 70 gigawatts (GW) to 100 GW of offshore wind power, and all electricity generated could be distributed and transmitted via direct-current connections to all countries bordering the North Sea — the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Belgium — which would also allow the countries to trade electricity as necessary.

“This cooperation with Energinet is an invitation to TSOs from North Sea countries as well as other infrastructure companies to join the initiative,” said Mel Kroon, CEO of TenneT. “The ultimate goal is to build a solid coalition of companies that will make the European energy transition feasible and affordable.”

Next on the blocks is the need to further investigate the details and potential for one or more Power Link Islands. However, further progress is a long way off — as far away as 2035.

The news was welcomed by the European trade body for wind energy, WindEurope. “This is a good initiative,” said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson. “Anything that drives future volumes of projects for offshore wind energy is welcome.”

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