Artificial islands to boost off-shore wind energy

March 30, 2017 | 08:00
Power Link Island. Image: TenneT.
Power Link Island. Image: TenneT.
Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have put forward an ambitious plan to build a large Wind Power Hub in the North Sea. At the heart of the plan is the development of one or more artificial islands with interconnections to countries bordering the North Sea.

Last week three transmission system operators (TSOs) TenneT B.V. (Netherlands), Energinet.dk (Denmark) and TenneT GmbH (Germany) signed an agreement in Brussels to cooperate on developing the Wind Power Hub. Other parties including infrastructure companies and fellow TSOs have showed interest to join the consortium.

Up total capacity: 100,000 MW

The aim of the plan is to reduce the cost of generating and distributing off-shore wind energy. One of the components that makes off-shore wind farms expensive are the grid connection systems. The so called Power Link Islands would connect many wind farms to the mainland. With a total capacity of between 70,000 MW to 100,000 MW economies of scale would result in significant cost reductions.
Direct current lines would connect the islands to the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Belgium. The transmission lines would have a double function as interconnectors to facilitate electricity trade between the countries.

Another costly element of constructing and maintaining off-shore wind farms is the complexity of far-shore logistics. The artificial islands turn far-shore projects into near-shore ones: staff components and assembly workshops can be stationed on the island.

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For a location the TSOs have their eyes on the Dogger Bank. It is centrally located between the aforementioned countries and wind conditions are very good. The North Sea is relatively shallow there which makes it easier and cheaper to build wind farms and the island itself.

Peder Østermark Andreasen, CEO of Energinet.dk 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.'
 


Image: Power Link Island. By: TenneT B.V.
 
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