UK and Netherlands Blazing Trail with Multi-Purpose Interconnector
National Grid Ventures and TenneT have signed a cooperation agreement to explore the feasibility of connecting Dutch and British offshore wind farms to the energy systems of both countries via interconnectors.
Under the terms of the cooperation agreement, TenneT and National Grid Ventures will explore the development of a multi-purpose interconnector (MPI) to simultaneously connect up to 4 GW of British and Dutch offshore wind between the British and Dutch electricity systems, providing an additional 2 GW of interconnection capacity between the countries.
The two companies aim to have a “path-finder” project defined by the end of 2021 with a view to delivering an operational asset by 2029.
By connecting into both systems, the MPI will enable spare transmission capacity to be used to trade electricity between the countries, thereby increasing the potential utilisation of offshore infrastructure, TenneT said.
Reducing the amount of infrastructure needed will also mitigate the environmental impact on coastal communities, compared to the current approach in which interconnectors and wind farms are developed and connected separately.
“Multi-Purpose Interconnectors have the potential to act as a key enabler for new offshore wind projects and we’re delighted to be partnering once again with TenneT to deliver an innovative vision to help realise the full green energy potential of the North Sea,” Jon Butterworth, Managing Director of National Grid Ventures, said.
The UK government plans to develop 40 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, whilst the Dutch are targeting 11.5 GW by 2030 and another increase of 20-40 GW by 2050. Delivering such large-scale offshore wind growth efficiently will require significant amounts of new infrastructure and close cooperation between countries around the North Sea, TenneT said.
Manon van Beek, CEO of TenneT, said: “TenneT has been at the forefront of developing multi-purpose interconnection to enable the large-scale growth of offshore wind in the North Sea. This agreement allows us to work with National Grid in the North Sea to develop innovative infrastructure that uses every spare electron of offshore wind generation to reach our decarbonisation targets.”
The agreement follows a recent decision by the Dutch government to future-proof the first far shore high voltage direct current (HVDC) 2 GW offshore transmission grids in the Netherlands for the IJmuiden Ver Wind Farm Zone, approximately 80 kilometres off the Dutch North-West coast.