Vattenfall, the Swedish energy group, and TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator, have joined forces to assess the technical feasibility, regulatory challenges and the benefits of running an interconnector between a substation in the designated offshore wind area IJmuiden Ver in Dutch waters, to one of Vattenfall’s substations in UK waters.
The concept of connecting offshore wind transmission infrastructure with an interconnector is known by the partners as WindConnector. By running a high voltage cable between two planned offshore substations, UK and Dutch electricity markets would be further interconnected, enabling more power to be traded between these two market through the efficient use of the wind transmission infrastructure. By making multiple use of transmission assets that are already planned, the additional investments are much less than what would be needed for a conventional interconnector between the two countries.
Vattenfall’s Gunnar Groebler, Senior Vice-President Wind, said: “As an industry leader with a growing wind business it was a natural and conscious choice taking a lead with TenneT on this study. The infrastructure needed to support offshore wind is a major capital investment. Anything we can do to optimise our assets with a smart project like WindConnector is good for a competitive, low cost, fossil-free offshore wind industry and great news for consumers. Partnering with TenneT means the expertise on both sides will deliver a thorough job in assessing the feasibility of WindConnector.”
Mel Kroon, CEO TenneT/Wilfried Breuer, Director Offshore TenneT: "In order to meet the climate targets of Paris, we must, among other things, move towards a development of wind at sea on a large scale. Scale size and at the same time affordability for society requires efficient, smart solutions and close cooperation at international level. The fact that this study is done by a European market player and a European grid operator with both extensive offshore experience will prove to be of great value for the further development of offshore wind energy."
Vattenfall and TenneT both signed an MoU which sets out the basis of cooperation to complete the WindConnector study. Results are expected to be published later in 2018.