The Dutch electricity network operator TenneT has partnered with Danish Energinet.dk to develop a wind power hub in the North Sea. These power hubs are expected to provide the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, the UK, Belgium and Norway with power generated by more than ten thousand off-shore wind turbines. This project would constitute a large step in accomplishing the 2050 climate goals formulated in the Paris Agreement COP21 in 2015.
This central power link or possibly links will enable a feasible and affordable energy transition through transmission cables which further function as interconnectors between the states’ energy markets. This would allow the countries to trade electricity, thereby balancing fluctuations among one another. This optimum cooperation and synergy is required as the goals set by the European Union cannot be accomplished by individual member states on their own. The European political declaration of 6 June 2016 on energy cooperation between the North Sea countries was an important step in this direction.
Wind energy overall constitutes a complementary sustainable energy solution to solar, as the wind increases during the darker months when solar energy production declines, hence wind as well as solar energy on a large scale are required to ensure and increase the stable provision of sustainable energy.
As location for the first island, the Dogger Bank seems to be a promising prospect, meeting the requirements:
Foreseeably, the wind conditions are ought to be ideal as it is supposed to be central to various wind parks. Furthermore, the water should ideally be relatively shallow, which is important in order to keep to building costs for the island and the surrounding wind farms low.
Through the power hub island, former far-shore turbines will become near-shore and the efficiency of the connections will increase significantly which will contribute to increased competitiveness and profitability of wind energy, in addition to the increased economies of scale. Further, offshore logistics will be optimized through the positioning of staff, components and assembly workshops on the island.
This represents the first steps towards the greater vision of a joint European approach which greatly evolves around the North Sea as a source and linking hub for the future of European energy.