25 May 2018

North Sea Wind Power Hub presents vision to G20+ countries: international coordination needed for wind farms at the North Sea

  • 7 till 15 times more wind energy production from the North Sea by 2040
  • International coordination helps to protect ecosystems and realise cost reduction up to 30%
  • Combine benefits of power and gas transmission systems

At Thursday 24 May the North Sea Wind Power Hub consortium presented its vision on wind farms at the North Sea to energy ministers from the G20+ countries (including the Netherlands) at this year’s Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM). The ministers were gathered in Copenhagen and Malmö for the ‘Nordic Clean Energy Week’. The North Sea Wind Power Hub Consortium consists of Energinet, Gasunie, Port of Rotterdam, TenneT Netherlands and TenneT Germany. At the CEM it was represented by Lars Barfoed, Chairman of the Board of Energinet.

Cost reduction of maximum 30%

He stated that North Sea offshore wind power by 2040 is expected to reach 70-150 gigawatts of electricity, corresponding to around one fifth of the EU’s power consumption. Thus, about 7-15 times more wind production than today is to be entered in the North Sea. In order to achieve that goal, there must be a close degree of planning and coordination between the countries. Furthermore, an international approach will reduce infrastructure costs significantly and lead to competitive energy prices. Instead of having each country connecting its own offshore wind farms, the first calculations show that up to 30% of the costs could be saved by an internationally coordinated roll out.

Maintain ecological balance

At the same time, Barfoed mentioned, protected areas are of vital importance to our ecosystem, and a close collaboration between the North Sea countries’ stakeholders is therefore needed to maintain the balance between ecological and climate matters as well as a cost efficient development of both wind farms and associated infrastructure.

Power to gas

In addition to examining the perspectives in the central hub as a staging point for offshore wind power, the consortium is also looking into the development of electricity storage and conversion, including Power to Gas, as an activity to unfold offshore and thereby add value to the harvested offshore wind power. In addition, combining the strengths of the electricity and gas supply system can provide a key boost to the use of hydrogen as a sustainable solution in numerous applications in industry, transportation, and the built environment.

Verdere stappen

A hub in the North Sea will not arise over night, but so far the five consortium partners have committed themselves to investigate the potential of the vision until mid-2019. This is done through concrete studies of technical, environmental and market perspectives.

The full version of the press release can be found on the website of the North Sea Wind Power Hub.