“We are especially pleased and honoured by the interest of the royal couple in the energy hub,” said Manon van Beek. “Joint visioning and concept development such as this one are necessary to create sustainable possibilities for achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions in Europe. This requires international cooperation and coordination, political momentum and courage and the support of non-governmental organisations.”
An electricity transmission grid that could be controlled via a distribution hub in the North Sea would enable the infeeding and distribution of very large quantities of offshore wind power, strengthen the European energy market and increase the security of supply throughout Europe.
The quantities of offshore wind power needed for the energy transition are so great that other solutions are required not only in the form of power lines but also gaseous transport and corresponding storage. Combining the strengths of electricity and gas systems can supply an important impetus to the increased use of hydrogen as a sustainable solution in industry, to the development of new coastal industrial regions and infrastructure and to the transport sector.
Against this backdrop, an international consortium consisting of TenneT, Energinet, Gasunie and Port of Rotterdam is evaluating and developing technical concepts and solutions for supplying the large capacities required for the generation of energy from renewable sources while realising this at the lowest possible societal cost and environmental impact. The envisioned wind power capacities are from 70 to 150 gigawatts by the year 2040 and up to 180 gigawatts by 2045 in the North Sea, which should be developed in a modular, successive fashion. The NSWPH could serve several hundreds of millions of European households with green energy, depending on its scale, size and capacity.
Eleven offshore grid connection systems with a joint capacity of 6,232 megawatts (MW) for offshore wind energy transmission from North Sea to land have now been connected to the power grid by transmission system operator TenneT. With this, TenneT has now almost entirely achieved the federal government’s expansion goal of having 6,500 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2020. Already this year, TenneT will exceed this goal since the completion of BorWin3 in the course of 2019 will put a total of 7,132 MW of transmission capacity into operation in the German North Sea alone. By the end of 2023, another German 900 MW connection system will follow in the form of DolWin6.
TenneT will also install five offshore grid connection systems with a total capacity of 3,500 MW in the Dutch North Sea by the end of 2023, making a total TenneT transmission capacity of 11,532 MW available in the North Sea in the year 2023.
The NSWPH consortium supports the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions in Europe. International coordination between countries, transmission system operators 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.
To safeguard grid stability and system flexibility and to facilitate a cost-efficient long-term future roll-out on the North Sea, a fundamentally new approach to long term offshore grid planning is required, combining wind power in-feed, interconnection and potential sector coupling and storage; characterized by an internationally coordinated roll-out of the North Sea Infrastructure.
On the long term (after 2030), once large scale, far offshore wind areas are ready for development, artificial islands or hubs, instead of a platform, could be developed as central hubs to support the necessary energy evacuation infrastructure e.g. electrical or power to gas conversion (esp. green hydrogen).
A first Cost Evaluation of North Sea Offshore Wind Post 2030 study was conducted on behalf of the consortium. In addition to the study, the consortium prepared a concept paper that includes the consortium’s view of this study including its (conclusions and limitations) as well as recognizing the other topics regarding spatial planning and its views on.
Our overall message is that long-term spatial planning and possible co-utilization of offshore wind areas in the North Sea requires urgent progress to unlock the regional cost-effective offshore wind energy potential of the North Sea contributing to the Paris Agreement goals. These wind farm and transmission infrastructure projects face already long lead times in planning and development. The consortium acknowledges that an internationally coordinated roll-out of offshore wind energy transmission and interconnection assets has substantial benefits, but also has an impact on the North Sea environment.
This concept, the North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH), is further being explored by the consortium. The consortium will share its findings of an intense assess phase, likely before summer 2019, and will consider how to build on this and scale up the initiative and partnerships.
Further information: https://northseawindpowerhub.eu/