Artificial power island to be built in North Sea
Danes, Germans and Dutch join forces to generate electricity off land
17 March, 2017
Three western European countries revealed plans to build a giant artificial island in the middle of the North Sea where joint wind farms would create power for 80 million people, news wires reported. The sandy Dogger Bank, 100 kilometres off the east coast of England, is the possible location for the so-called 'power island' which, if built, would have its own airport and harbour. Under the plan, the island would be connected by electricity cables to the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Belgium.
The North Sea area generates a high amount of wind, making it the ideal location for the green power hub, according to transmission system operators Energinet in Denmark and TenneT in Germany and the Netherlands. The companies will sign a deal to create a consortium and start feasibility study of the project in Brussels on 23 March in the presence of Energy Union Commissioner Maros Sefcovic. Discussions with other partners willing to join the project are ongoing.
A serious advantage of creating the island will be a reduction in transport costs of materials for building the wind power plants in comparison with other offshore wind farms. The island would be around six square kilometres in size and would be surrounded by thousands of windmills. Wind farms in countries around the North Sea would then be connected to the island power hub, allowing the distribution of energy to consumers across the region.
In a statement, Energinet said European targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions meant that major new sources of solar and wind energy were required. It added that another aim of the project was to make wind power cheaper. “Maybe it sounds a bit crazy and science fiction-like, but an island on Dogger Bank could make the wind power of the future a lot cheaper and more effective,” Torben Glar Nielsen, technical director with the company, said in a press release. “Wind and solar energy complement each other. A sustainable and stable energy system for the future will need both on a large scale,” he added.
“This project can significantly contribute to a completely renewable supply of electricity in north-west Europe. TenneT and Energinet both have extensive experience in the fields of onshore grids, the connection of offshore wind energy and cross-border connections. 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,” TenneT CEO Mel Kroon pointed out.
According to Energinet statement, the primary aim in creating the power island will be to establish a hub that can collect 30 gigawatts (GW) of power. The long term aim will be to create 70-100 GW of power through windmills connected to the island. 70 GW will be enough to provide 80 million Europeans with power. Electricity use in Denmark alone currently stands at 6.1 GW, according to the Energinet press release. The cooperation between the three companies is also a step towards fulfilling the goals of the Paris COP21 climate agreement.