Artificial North Sea Island Plan Moves Ahead

Image source: TenneT

TenneT Netherlands, and TenneT Germany will sign a trilateral agreement on developing the North Sea Wind Power Hub project during the North Seas Energy Forum in Brussels on 23 March, in the presence of Maroš Šefčovič, European Commissioner for Energy Union.

Central to the plan is the construction of one or more islands, so-called Power Link islands with interconnections to surrounding countries, in the middle of the North Sea, to which many wind farms can be connected.

According to the transmission system operators (TSOs), discussions with other potential partners are ongoing, which not only include other North Sea TSOs, but other infrastructure companies as well. The goal is to achieve a multi-party consortium which will realise the project.

From the Power Link island(s), the generated wind energy can be distributed and transmitted over direct current lines to the North Sea countries of the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Belgium with the transmission cables simultaneously functioning as interconnectors between the energy markets of the aforementioned countries.

An island will facilitate connecting large wind farms located far offshore to it, allowing for a potential total connection capacity of between 70,000MW and 100,000MW. This way, far-shore will become near-shore and economies of scale will reduce costs, according to TenneT, which presented its vision of an artificial island acting as a power hub in June 2016. Staff, components and assembly workshops can be stationed on the island, thus optimising and simplifying complex offshore logistics.

The location of the Power Link should satisfy a number of requirements: optimal wind conditions, centrally located and in relatively shallow water, and the Dogger Bank area meets all the conditions.

Mel Kroon, CEO of TenneT, said: “This project can significantly contribute to a completely renewable supply of electricity in Northwest Europe. TenneT and both have extensive experience in the fields of onshore grids, the connection of offshore wind energy and cross-border connections.

“TSOs are best placed to play a leading role in the long-term development of the offshore infrastructure. I am happy that we are going to take this step with our Danish colleagues and I look forward to the participation of other transmission system operators and possibly other partners.”

Peder Østermark Andreasen, CEO of said: “Offshore wind has in recent years proved to be increasingly competitive and it is important to us to constantly focus on further reduction in prices of grid connections and interconnections. We need innovative and large-scale projects so that offshore wind can play an even bigger part in our future energy supply.”

Last month, TenneT launched market consultation on grid connection concepts for the IJmuiden Ver wind energy area in the Netherlands, which is farther from the coast than currently developed areas in the country, with the TSO considering HVDC platforms and an artificial island as potential solutions.