An initial study of proposals to develop an offshore wind ‘hub’ in the North Sea indicates that the project is technically and economically feasible.
The North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) Consortium says that it has completed an assessment of the concept and believes that it would play a key role in the energy transition.
The NSWPH would connect offshore wind farms in the North Sea to each other and neighbouring countries via a series of island hubs in the North Sea.
The electricity transmission cables would not only transmit wind energy to the connected countries, but simultaneously serve as international interconnectors.
The Consortium, which includes TenneT, Energinet, Gasunie and Port of Rotterdam, have investigated a number of scenarios and conducted intense engagements with policy makers, leading offshore wind farm developers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It says that the first hub-and-spoke project could be operational in the 2030s, and that the concept would enable the construction of 180 GW of offshore wind in the North Sea by 2045.
The Consortium also says that a gradual roll-out of 10-15 GW hubs would be the best approach to large-scale offshore wind build-out in the North Sea. However, significant changes to national planning and policies would be needed to allow for integrated infrastructure projects such as the modular hub concept being part of the long term energy transition.
“An international coordinated approach could connect and integrate large scale offshore wind more effectively and with significant lower costs compared to a continued individual national planning,” the Consortium said in a statement. It added: “Balanced decision making is required by policy makers and spatial planners to weigh the environmental impact of offshore wind farm developments against its techno-economic impact, and the urgency to meet the long-term climate goals.”