Planning the future today
International coordination between countries, TSOs and developers is crucial if we are to succeed in rolling out mass-scale offshore wind power in the North Sea at the lowest possible cost.
Harvesting benefits of mass-scale offshore wind power in the North Sea in an innovative first-of-its-kind hybrid project, combining grid connection of wind power with interconnectors and providing green energy to millions of Europeans.
Significantly increasing shares of renewables is a given, following the Paris Agreement. The North Sea provides optimal conditions for offshore wind power with shallow waters, strong and relatively stable wind speeds, closeness to consumption centres and bridging Scandinavia and The United Kingdoms with Central Europe. In addition we have seen rapidly declining costs of offshore wind leading to projections that forecast cost-efficient deployment of up to 180 GW offshore wind power in the North Sea in 2045.
Benefits of Scale
Connecting large-scale offshore wind power to a central hub far from shore, or even larger amounts to several interlinked hubs, provides a unique basis for harvesting benefits of scale. By building a hub on an artificial island and as such creating a near-shore environment far out at sea, capital-intensive platforms for HVDC converter stations could be avoided. In addition an island would constitute a permanent base for personnel to undertake construction and maintenance of surrounding wind farms as well as for possible synergy technologies such as Power2Gas.
A project the size of the NSWPH must build on strong international cooperation and coordination. The North Sea countries' political declaration on energy cooperation and cost-efficient roll-out of offshore wind power is a point of departure. A key aim is to show how the vision of internationally coordinated planning and roll-out of offshore wind power in the North Sea could be materialised. The backbone of the TSO project partners’ engagement is our public responsibility to ensure a high level of security of supply at lowest possible socio-economic cost in a future scenario with more renewables.
The reference point to strong international cooperation and a hybrid hub project such as the North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) is the current individual and incremental development of offshore wind power by countries within national waters. In such a reference, additional offshore wind farms will be connected directly (radially) to the grid onshore. In parallel this reference may include additional point-to-point interconnectors. A national and incremental scenario is likely to lead to sub-optimal planning and increased costs.