Denmark has initiated studies to find possible locations for one or more energy islands supporting at least 10GW of offshore wind capacity.
This corresponds to ten large offshore wind farms that could meet the electricity demand of more than ten million European households. The total investment needed for the project is estimated to be between DKK 200 and DKK 300 billion (around EUR 28 to EUR 40 billion).
DKK 65 million has been allocated for the investigations. They will include areas in the Kattegat, the Baltic, and the North Sea. It will also include finding the location of the second of three offshore wind farms stipulated in the last year’s energy agreement, as well as examining how these additional offshore wind farms can be included in the project.
“It’s a huge project. We need to build more than 5 times as much capacity as we have today. We need to have a sensible and ambitious plan for the expansion. That’s why we are now embarking on the preliminary studies, ” Denmark’s Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities Dan Jørgensen said.
The Concept of an Energy Island
An energy island is a physical island or a platform that acts as a hub for electricity generation from surrounding offshore wind farms and its distribution across the North Sea countries. Other electrical engineering equipment such as storage facilities, electrolysis systems, or other electrical conversion technologies can also be added to the concept.
The energy islands are expected to contribute to more efficient utilization of far offshore wind and thus create room for significantly more offshore wind in the Danish and European energy system. In addition, it can contribute to relatively reduced investments in transmission cables and grid reinforcements on land.
The funds for the investigation are allocated both for preliminary studies on the energy island itself, and for the development of technologies to store and convert the large amounts of electricity an energy island will produce.
The vast majority of the project will be funded by private investments, the government said. The state will largely have to finance the development of technologies that can contribute to the efficient use of the large amount of electricity that an energy island will be able to produce. One of the aims of the project is also to ensure that electricity produced at offshore wind farms can be used in other areas of society, such as transport and industry.
“Offshore wind is central to the green transition. If we seriously need to realize the enormous potential the offshore wind holds, we must develop tomorrow’s technologies to transform the green power fuel for aircraft, ships, and industry,” Jørgensen said.
The studies must confirm that it is feasible to establish one or more energy islands in relation to nature, environment, and planning. They must also provide financial calculations that can provide a basis for making a final decision. The work will inform the negotiations on climate action plans starting in the new year.
Finding potential locations for these islands is the first step on the road, the government said, adding that a large number of other analyzes still need to be carried out before a final decision can be made. Therefore, in-depth technical studies on the potential of the energy islands are initiated, as well as initial dialogues on cooperation with relevant North Sea countries.