Dutch and Danish grid operators to build man-made ‘Energy Island’ in the North Sea to supply UK and EU with renewable power from Dogger Bank hub

Dogger Bank will become home to the 'power link island'
Dogger Bank will become home to the ‘power link island’

Many in Scotland’s ‘Energy Isles – have long lamented the lack of connectivity to National Grid on the UK mainland.

But a combined Dutch and Danish consortium have developed plans to build their own ‘fake’ energy island on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea to improve international energy connectivity.

Dutch power grid operator TenneT and Danish power transmission company Energinet are now planning to build one – or more – artificial islands surrounded by wind farms on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea.

By developing the North Sea Wind Power Hub, TenneT and Energinet want to make the energy transition both feasible and affordable.

Central to the plan is the construction of one or more islands, so called ‘power link islands’ with interconnections to surrounding European countries;

  • to which many wind farms can be connected (possibly 70,000 MW to 100,000 MW);
  • from where the generated wind energy can be distributed and transmitted over direct current lines to the North Sea countries of the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Belgium;
  • where transmission cables will simultaneously function as interconnectors between the energy markets of the aforementioned countries. Besides transmitting wind electricity to the connected countries, these ‘wind connectors’ will enable the countries to trade electricity;
  • where wind conditions are optimal.

The consortium claims this new ‘energy island’ – complete with its own harbour, airport runway and residential homes – could supply all of north west Europe with renewable energy, which could – financially – take the wind out of Scotland’s offshore wind power sector.

CGI of the Dogger Bank power link island
CGI of the Dogger Bank power link island, surrounded by scores of offshore wind turbines

TenneT said the chosen area on Dogger Bank is relatively shallow and the shallower the water, the lower the cost of building the wind farms and the island.

Mel Kroon, Chief Executive of TenneT, added: “This project can significantly contribute to a completely renewable supply of electricity in Northwest Europe.

“TenneT and Energinet.dk both have extensive experience in the fields of onshore grids, the connection of offshore wind energy and cross-border connections. TSOs are best placed to play a leading role in the long-term development of the offshore infrastructure.

“I am happy that we are going to take this step with our Danish colleagues and I look forward to the participation of other transmission system operators and possibly other partners.”

Peder Østermark Andreasen, Chief Executive of Energinet, 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.’

Solar energy and wind energy will be necessary on a large scale because achievement of the European targets for reducing CO2 emissions hinges largely on electricity produced sustainably.

Wind and solar energy complement each other: there is more sun from spring to autumn, and more wind in the colder and darker months of the year.

So a sustainable and stable energy system for the future will need solar and wind energy, both on a large scale. This requires optimum cooperation and synergy because it cannot be accomplished by individual member states on their own.

The European political declaration of in June 2016 on energy cooperation between the North Sea countries marked an important milestone on this road. 

This week ( 23 March) the consortium agreement between TenneT Netherlands, Energinet.dk and TenneT Germany will be formally signed by Mel Kroon (TenneT) and Torben Glar Nielsen (Energinet.dk), in the presence of Maros Šefcovic, European Commissioner for Energy Union at the North Seas Energy Forum in Brussels.

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