A man-made island surrounded by wind farms in the heart of the North Sea could provide renewable energy for six European countries including the UK, by 2027.
Dutch electricity transmission systems operator TenneT has developed its vision for the $2 billion North Sea Wind Power Hub which it says would produce wind and solar energy on a mass scale, a vital component in hitting EU targets for reducing C02 emissions.
Members of the North Sea Wind Power Hub Consortium, have already signed agreements, including TenneT, Gasunie and the Port of Rotterdam from the Netherlands, Energinet of Denmark and TenneT TSO GmbH of Germany.
TenneT claims it would provide a permanent infrastructure for maintaining off-shore wind farms, offer a secure base for technology that could tackle the power harvested, and function as an “international electricity highway”.
The infrastructure of sand and stone would be approximately 2.3 square miles in size in shallow water on Dogger Bank, just off the UK’s east coast. With its own airstrip, harbour, road network and artificial lake, it would be surrounded by off-shore wind turbines.
Currently, wind farm projects are limited by location, cost and technology. Those closer to the shore cannot always deliver a good capacity due to lower wind speeds and reduced space. Dogger Bank, in shallow water 18 metres under the sea, is said to receive a large amount of wind resulting offering maximum yield, with the possibility of numerous wind farms connecting to it.
Energinet, a Danish independent public enterprise and one of the international members to have signed, will play a crucial role, looking at barriers, technical matters and potential synergies.
Peter Larsen, Energinet, Business Support and Development, said it was interested in uncovering the benefits and challenges of integrating mass-scale future off-shore wind power in the North Sea, including a possible collaborative, coordinated approach between countries and TSOs, rather than isolated national solutions.
“This project is looking into a possible future of much more off-shore wind power following the climate agreement in Paris and the European climate and energy targets and commitments.”
The North Sea Wind Power Hub could support the UK in reaching goals outlined in the Government’s 2020 Renewable Energy Policy, which states it must provide 15 per cent of energy needs from a renewable resource. Despite Britain leaving the EU in the coming months, it would still be included as a consumer.