Cooperative study on Wind Power Hub

13.06.2018

“New approaches must be investigated to connect large scale offshore wind to the onshore grids,” says Mel Kroon, CEO of TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). And TenneT certainly can not be accused of being inactive in this regard. For example, in order to support the integration of larger offshore wind volumes, the TSO is investigating the possibilities of an interconnected grid system, the North Sea Wind Power Hub. The hub concept combines wind energy production, storage and transmission with a multinational connection of the transmission systems of the North Sea riparian states.

To further expedite the development of the North Sea Wind Power Hub, TenneT and innogy, one of the world’s leading operators of offshore wind farms, have signed a Letter of Intent to jointly conduct a feasibility study on interconnectors within the North Sea Wind Power Hub system. The cooperation involves possible designs, economic rationale, as well as regulatory and market requirements for such a complex international infrastructure. Since both partner companies have a proven track record in offshore wind projects in the North Sea, the joint investigation can build on the collective knowledge and experience of previous studies and ventures.

Picture using an illustration of TenneT/innogy

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> See TenneT press release (html)

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North Sea Wind Power Hub presentation

25.05.2018

The road to a sustainable low-carbon energy future cannot be successfully pursued without ambitious and courageous lighthouse projects. With a fundamentally original concept of combining wind energy production, storage and transmission with a multinational interconnector, the North Sea Wind Power Hub vision definitely falls into that category. The hub concept comprises one or more so-called Power Link Islands which are built in shallow North Sea waters with ideal wind conditions and connected to multiple offshore wind facilities. The vision also includes power to gas technologies in the form of gas-based transmission and storage solutions. Such islands facilitate the distribution and transmission of wind power and may additionally serve to interconnect the transmission systems of the North Sea neighbouring states.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub was originally conceived by TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). The Hub consortium by now also consists of Danish TSO Energinet, another TSCNET shareholder, the Dutch natural gas infrastructure and transmission company Gasunie and the Port of Rotterdam. The Clean Energy Ministerial ‒ part of this year’s Nordic Clean Energy Week in Copenhagen and Malmö ‒ provided a welcome opportunity to showcase the North Sea Wind Power Hub in front of a considerable number of Energy Ministers from most of the largest economies in the world, as well as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and The Netherlands.

Lars Barfoed, Chairman of the Board of Energinet, took over the presentation on behalf of the consortium. Mr Barfoed identified the shared vision of new energy highways and trade corridors between the North Sea riparians as “bold, but simple”. Instead of individual national offshore connections for the integration of ever increasing offshore wind energy, an internationally coordinated hub concept would be much more efficient, also in economic terms. Of course, the vison requires sustainable political support and cooperation at the international level. “We need to focus more on the whole picture,” explains Mr Barfoed. “If a wind power hub in the North Sea is to move from vision to reality, whatever its technical and economic potential, it requires massive political support from a large number of participating countries.”

> See Energinet press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)
> Visit North Sea Wind Power Hub website (html)

Picture: Screenshot taken from video “North Sea Wind Power Hub vision” (North Sea Wind Power Hub Consortium, YouTube)

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Port of Rotterdam joins power hub consortium

28.11.2017

The European climate and energy objectives are undoubtedly ambitious – nonetheless, the European transmission system operators (TSOs) are eager to fulfill their part in realising a sustainable low-carbon energy future. For this purpose, exceptional lighthouse projects are required, such as the North Sea Wind Power Hub. This visionary hub concept comprises the construction of one or more so-called Power Link Islands situated in shallow North Sea waters with ideal wind conditions. Connected to a large number of offshore wind facilities, such an island can facilitate the distribution and transmission of wind-generated electricity and also serve as interconnector between North Sea riparian states.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub was originally conceived by TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German TSO. In March 2017, TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands) and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) were complemented by another TSCNET shareholder, Energinet from Denmark. The hub consortium was further expanded in September, when Dutch natural gas infrastructure and transmission company Gasunie joined, bringing its expertise in terms of power-to-gas technologies into the fold.

Now another important step for the success of North Sea Wind Power Hub is taken: The Port of Rotterdam has become the fifth member of the hub consortium. The Port of Rotterdam not only pursues a clear sustainability strategy, but also has pertinent knowledge in the field of seaward land reclamation. With respect to the island construction, the port’s specific experiences will prove to be very valuable for the hub project.

> See TenneT press release (html)
> See Energinet press release (html)
> Visit North Sea Wind Power Hub website (html)

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Consortium for Wind Power Hub expanded

14.09.2017

Meeting the future demand for renewable electricity and achieving the EU’s offshore wind energy targets as well as the objectives of the Paris climate agreement – these are primary concerns for European transmission system operators (TSOs) such as Energinet from Denmark, TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands), and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany). Earlier this year, the three TSC members have thus agreed to jointly explore and develop the North Sea Wind Power Hub, a large renewable electricity system in the North Sea. The TSOs also expressed their intention to expand the cooperation to a European multi-party consortium.

The basic idea of the visionary hub project is the construction of one or more so-called Power Link Islands in the shallow waters of the central North Sea. A large amount of offshore wind facilities is to be connected to such an island, that will serve as distributor and transmitter of sustainable energy, and above that as interconnector between the energy markets of the North Sea riparian states. Since power to gas technologies are destined to play an important part in the European energy landscape of the future, they are likewise an integral part of the North Sea Wind Power Hub – in terms of gas-based transmission and storage solutions.

Given this premise, it is very welcome indeed, that the Dutch natural gas infrastructure and transmission company Gasunie has joined the hub consortium. Gasunie will not only contribute its expertise regarding gas storage and transport, but also its technological experience in the handling and conversion of renewable gases such as hydrogen. Power-to-gas conversion techniques allow to store and transmit large quantities of wind-generated energy in the form of hydrogen. Storage on a Power Link Island would take place close to the offshore energy source, and from here, the energy could be transmitted through an existing gas infrastructure.

> See Energinet press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot taken from video “North Sea Island TenneT” (TenneT, YouTube)

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Collaboration and innovation – TenneT report

28.07.2017

A whole lot of aspects from the half-year report of TSC member Tennet are worth mentioning, but what might be considered as especially valuable and forward-thinking is the continuing effort of the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) in promoting the European energy collaboration and market integration. Tennet complements these efforts with the development of digital solutions for the renewable’s integration to facilitate the energy transition.

Mel Kroon, CEO at TenneT, mentions two essential catalysts of a sustainable European energy future: “Further integration of the North-West European electricity markets” to improve green energy management, as well as “smart, innovative systems” to match future energy demand and supply. Among TenneT’s most prominent international projects are the so called Power Link Island, a North Sea Wind Power Hub to be developed jointly with Danish TSO Energinet, the COBRAcable between the Netherlands and Denmark, or the NordLink cable to connect the Norwegian and German electricity markets. TenneT’s key initiative in terms of smart software solutions is the research on block chain technology fostering local, flexible electricity generation.

The company’s European commitment is emphasised by the opening of a representative office in Brussels in June and the appointment of Ben Voorhorst, Chief Operating Officer of TenneT, as President of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) in March. As far as TenneT’s operating results in the first half of 2017 are concerned, the TSO reports satisfactory figures, with profits before interests and taxes growing to €478m. Infrastructural investments in the Netherlands and Germany remained on a high level since large-scale grid extension projects, on- and offshore, are being implemented continuously. To help financing these investments in the transmission of the renewables, TenneT has yet again succesfully issued long term green bonds with a nominal total value of €2bn in March and June respectively.

> See TenneT press release (html)
> Open TenneT half-year report 2017 (pdf, 2.58mb)

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TenneT opens EU representation

28.06.2017

The European capital of Brussels in Belgium from now on hosts a representative office of TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO). The company’s CEO Mel Kroon and Ben Voorhorst, Chief Operating Officer at TenneT, have officially inaugurated the venue in the presence of Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union. With the new office, TenneT wants to support its European activities targetting the integration of the continental energy market.

As TenneT has been evolving into a “real cross-border TSO”, Mr Kroon stressed the significance of running a representation in the “heart of the European energy policy”. He also expressed TenneT’s “conviction that the energy transition is a truly international endeavour”, resulting in an increasing irrelevance of national borders. Optimised international cooperation is the key for implementing “the energy transition more quickly, more efficiently and more cost-effectively.” According to Kroon, nothing less but a smart, efficient, job generating, and reliable energy market “with 100 percent renewable electricity production” is TenneT’s future vision and aim.

Maroš Šefčovič welcomed “TenneT’s ongoing efforts to further remove both physical and infrastructural barriers in the European electricity system” and particularly put emphasis on the TSO’s plans for the Power Link Island in the North Sea – a joint venture with Danish TSC member Energinet.dk. Mr Šefčovič called the ambitious Wind Power Hub “a project which has a purely European logic” and took it as an “emblematic example” of TenneT’s sustainable contributions to the Energy Union.

> See TenneT press release (html)

Picture: TenneT

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Agreement for Power Link Island signed

24.03.2017

On the occasion of the North Seas Energy Forum in Brussels, Belgium, the transmission system operators (TSOs) and TSC members Energinet.dk (Denmark), TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands), and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) have signed on 23 March a trilateral agreement on the development of the North Sea Wind Power Hub, a large renewable electricity system in the North Sea.

The signing ceremony with Mel Kroon, CEO of TenneT, and Torben Glar Nielsen, CTO of Energinet.dk, was also attended by Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union. The concept of the visionary hub project is double-sided. It is conceived as a large junction for thousands of offshore wind turbines and as an interconnector between the energy markets of the North Sea riparian states. The artificial Power Link Island is the core element of the system whose potential is impressive: Up to 100m Europeans might be supplied with renewable energy by 2050.

The partner TSOs are eager to expand their cooperation to a European multi-party consortium. Mel Kroon considers the common efforts of TenneT and Energinet.dk as “invitation to TSOs from North Sea countries” and comments: “The ultimate goal is to build a solid coalition of companies that will make the European energy transition feasible and affordable.” Torben Glar Nielsen lays emphasis on the challenges and potentialities of Power Link Island. It may sound “like a science fiction project”, but might turn out as a “very efficient and affordable way for the North Sea countries to meet the future demand for more renewable electricity”.

> See Energinet.dk press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot from the video “North Sea Island TenneT” (YouTube)

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TSO cooperation for Power Link Island

10.03.2017

An artificial island in the shallow Dogger Bank area of the North Sea connected to numerous nearby wind farms and distributing wind electricity to North Sea riparian states – in June 2016, TSC member TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), first revealed this ambitious concept of Power Link Island. Now TenneT takes its vison one step further. On 23 March, during the North Seas Energy Forum in Brussels, Belgium, TenneT TSO B.V. (Netherlands), and TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany) will sign a trilateral agreement with partner TSC member Energinet.dk, the national Danish TSO, on the cooperative development of this visionary North Sea Wind Power Hub.

Large amounts of wind and solar energy need to be fed into the transnational transmission system to succed with the energy transition on a pan-European level. Since the required quantity might not be attained by all individual European states, close cross-border cooperation on infrastructure is indispensable. Power Link Island would make a perfect example of such an international cooperation. It is not only conceived as distributor of sustainable energy, but also as interconnector between the energy markets of the riparian states. TenneT and Energinet.dk are in contact with further potential partners in order to compose a European multi-party consortium to promote Power Link Island.

The CEOs of both companies, Mel Kroon of TenneT and Peder Østermark Andreasen of Energinet.dk, appraise the innovative potential of Power Link Island. Kroon explains that “this project can significantly contribute to a completely renewable supply of electricity in Northwest Europe”. Andreasen stresses the economic efficiency of offshore energy and the need for “innovative and large-scale projects so that offshore wind can play an even bigger part in our future energy supply”.

> See Energinet.dk press release (html)
> See TenneT press release (html)

Picture: Screenshot taken from the video “North Sea Island TenneT” (TenneT, YouTube)

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