Nine European Countries Pledge to Build North Sea "Supergrid" for Offshore Wind Power


Photo: Dong Energy
Generation is Nothing Without Good Transmission
Nine European countries (Ireland and the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, France and Germany) have pledged in the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative that they would "examine the construction of an offshore wind energy grid, or 'Supergrid' in the North and North West Seas." The project isn't written in stone yet since this is more a political declaration than a firm deal with monies attached, but it's a step in the right direction for what could be a very important development for European clean energy. Building generation capacity is all good and well, but without a good transmission infrastructure, it won't get anywhere.
Photo: Dong Energy

The Irish government, via Eamon Ryan, the minister of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (and a member of the Irish Green Party), released this statement about the supergrid:

This project is another example of European vision and ambition in energy policy. It is a huge step towards meeting our common renewable energy goals and in guaranteeing a low carbon future.

Irish wind farms will be able to connect directly to Europe, not only securing our energy supply but allowing us to sell the electricity produced on a wider market.

It makes economic, as well as environmental sense. By working together, all of the countries involved will reap the benefits.


How About Adding Norway to the Mix?
What I'd like to see is the addition of Norway to this supergrid. Why? Because it could use its hydro power as a "battery" (see the link for more details). The way it would work is simple: When the wind is blowing strong, Norway would import some of that electricity and shut down its hydro stations so that water is being stored in its reservoirs. When the wind stops blowing, Norway could turn its hydro back on to pick up the slack and export electricity. It would be a great complement to all this offshore wind power.

Via EWEA, Irish Gov
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Tags: Alternative Energy | Wind Power

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