Denmark, Germany, and The Netherlands are considering building a giant island in the North Sea as a support centre for up to 100 gigawatts of “far-shore” wind generation.
The North Sea Wind Power Hub would be built on the Dogger Bank, a sandbank with water depths of 15 to 36 metres, Greentech Media reports. It would “act as a staging post for turbine operations and maintenance crews, provide a central connection for planned far-shore wind farms, and host direct current lines acting as interconnectors between Denmark, Germany, Holland, Norway, and the UK.”
The consortium is still calculating the cost of the project, beginning with a €1.5-billion (US$1.6-billion) investment to build the base for the island out of sand and rocks. According to WindEurope, 96.4% of the continent’s offshore wind projects in 2016 were built in the North Sea.
“The cooperation will spend the coming years investigating feasibility and develop a model before deciding whether to go forward,” said press officer Jesper Nørskov Rasmussen of Denmark’s transmission system operator (TSO), Energinet.dk.
“A part of this work will be to include power-to-gas technology and other storage technologies,” Rasmussen added. “What, when, how much is what we will look into further.” Greentech notes that the North Sea “is home to a sophisticated network of gas pipelines, which could help bring wind-generated gas to countries around Europe.”
The Netherlands’ transmission system operator, TenneT, described the project as “an important next step towards accomplishing…the 2050 climate goals formulated in the Paris Agreement (COP21).” In a release earlier this month, the organization stated that “discussions with other potential partners are ongoing, which not only include other North Sea TSOs but also other [infrastructure] companies. The goal is to achieve a multi-party consortium” to make the project a reality.
“TenneT and Energinet.dk claim the project will help deliver economies of scale for far-shore wind farms, and yield efficiencies by allowing direct current lines to double as interconnectors,” Greentech notes. “Staff, components, and assembly workshops could all be stationed on the island to simplify offshore logistics. The North Sea Wind Power Hub would also boast an airport.”