WindEurope Hitachi meshed grids

Europe Needs to Invest More in Meshed Grids, Report Says

Hitachi Energy and WindEurope have published a new report which outlines that Europe needs to invest more in the so-called meshed grids to ensure its offshore wind development.


Meshed grids are clusters of offshore wind farms with fewer cables connected to the shore that can route power to two or more national grids.

Governments across Europe have pledged to reach 150 GW by 2030. By 2050, Europe’s seas will have as much as 450 GW of wind farms, but achieving this requires investment in grid infrastructure too, said WindEurope.

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Offshore wind farms generally have been connected to one connection point with little coordinated planning for future development. Subsea interconnectors are also primarily used to connect only two separate national transmission systems.

Wind farms connected to more than one national grid already exist. The Kriegers Flak wind farm connects the Danish and German grids. More countries want to combine transmission assets with offshore wind farms since these offshore hybrids save money and space and enhance energy flows between countries, according to WindEurope.

The natural evolution of offshore hybrid projects will see them connected to each other to form meshed offshore grids, the report outlines. This will require a full-scale offshore grid deployment and reinforcement of the onshore grid.

Energy islands will be a stepping stone for meshed offshore grids too, WindEurope stated.

Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark have all announced plans to build these islands which will not only serve as hubs gathering electricity from surrounding wind farms and transmitting it to neighbouring grids, but they will also position wind power as a beacon of regional cooperation.

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The report outlines that the technology to build these grid solutions is available but it needs to be deployed at scale and more quickly.

Developers will need more clarity at the European level to mitigate investment risks in order to accelerate the deployment of hybrids and national governments also need to provide a clear governance framework, WindEurope said.

The development of an offshore meshed grid also requires resilient supply chains and visibility of project developments across a longer time frame, according to the report.

In addition, one of the key topics that need to be addressed is the people resources, and skills to execute the energy transition, WindEurope said.

“European Governments have set ambitious offshore wind targets. But we need to focus on grids too. Huge investment is required to connect all these new offshore wind farms to energy consumers. The best solution is to develop a meshed offshore grid which connects multiple national grids to each other”, said Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope.

“Governments need to be clear about their future plans. A meshed grid requires deep cross-border and cross-sector cooperation. It will also require investments in supply chains and skills.“


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