Wind power hub promotes climate goals

10.07.2019

It’s only been a good three years since TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), first presented the concept of a North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) to the public. From then on, the vision has taken concrete shape and the hub consortium has been consistently expanded, now including further TSCNET shareholder Energinet from Denmark, the port of Rotterdam and the Dutch natural gas company Gasunie, as power-to-gas applications are an important component of the concept.

In future years, when large wind regions in the North Sea are defined for development, it will be possible to implement several hubs to support the energy transmission infrastructure. These NSWPHs will then combine generation, storage and transmission of wind energy with a multinational interconnection of North Sea riparian states and thus promote the large-scale implementation and integration of offshore wind energy. The NSWPH partners have now presented the results of the project assessment phase. In recent months, they not only analysed options for the construction of wind farms in the North Sea, but also conducted a large number of studies, examined various scenarios and held intensive discussions with policy makers, leading offshore developers and non-governmental organisations.

The studies and investigations have confirmed the technical and economic feasibility of the hub concept. Furthermore, they have shown that large offshore wind capacities must be developed in the North Sea in order to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Convention in due time. The targeted capacities range from 70 to 150GW by 2040 and up to 180GW by 2045. Depending on the scope of development, the NSWPH could lay the foundation to supply hundreds of millions of Europeans with green electricity. To take the concept forward, the Danish, Dutch and German governments as well as the European Commission are invited by the NSWPH consortium to consider setting up a consultation.

Studies confirm the climate benefits of the North Sea Wind Power Hub concept (picture: TenneT)

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

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Royal interest in the Wind Power Hub

07.03.2019

TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), had the honour of hosting high-ranking visitors. During the German-Dutch trade delegation meeting on 6 March 2019 in the German North Sea port of Bremerhaven, Manon van Beek, CEO of the TSCNET shareholder, presented the vision and current plans for the North Sea Wind Power Hub in attendance of the Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub concept combines wind energy production, storage, and transmission with a multinational interconnection of North Sea riparian states. In addition to TenneT, the international hub consortium includes the Danish TSO Energinet, another TSCNET shareholder, the port of Rotterdam and the Dutch natural gas company Gasunie. Hence, power-to-gas technologies are also involved in the hub concept. A transnational transmission grid, controlled through a distribution hub in the North Sea and enabling the feed-in and distribution of vast quantities of offshore wind energy, would strengthen the whole European energy market and increase the security of supply across the continent.

The Dutch royal couple took great interest in the virtual and interactive model of the hub concept showcased at the meeting. Manon van Beek was most appreciative of this aristocratic concern: “We are especially pleased and honoured by the interest of the royal couple in the energy hub.” The TenneT CEO considers the Power Hub to be a valuable instrument in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. In this regard, the royal visit was beneficial because the realisation of a low-carbon energy future “requires international cooperation and coordination, political momentum and courage and the support of non-governmental organisations”, van Beek concluded.

TenneT has presented the North Sea Wind Power Hub in the presence of the Dutch royal couple (picture: TenneT)

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

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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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TenneT explores offshore potentials

29.11.2017

In line with the expansion of the North Sea Wind Power Hub consortium, TSCNET shareholder TenneT, the Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO), has presented further possibilities to promote offshore wind power capacities in the North Sea and interconnect national electricity markets. TenneT’s objective is twofold. The TSO aims at fulfilling the European climate targets on the one hand and reducing energy costs for customers on the other.

To increase wind energy generation in the Dutch North Sea, wind farms being situated further offshore and high capacity DC connections are considered necessary. TenneT has investigated two options relating thereto: Offshore converter platforms to convert the AC produced by the wind farms into DC for the onshore transmission, or the construction of an artificial island instead of platforms. The latter option allows converter placement and maintennace on solid ground. An Island could also host port facilities or power-to-gas technologies and facilitate direct electricity market connections.

Such an interconnector would be the offshore grid infrastructure solution called WindConnector. Together with The Crown Estate, the British real estate business and seabed manager, TenneT commissioned a study on this ambitious project. Similar to the North Sea Wind Power Hub concept, the WindConnector serves two purposes: the transmission of wind-generated electricity, and the interconnection of markets, in this case referring to the Netherlands and Great Britain. Commenting on the study, TenneT’s CEO Mel Kroon explains: “Combining infrastructure for offshore wind energy with an interconnector greatly increases the utilisation rate, and with that reduces the cost of energy for consumers.”

> See TenneT press release on Dutch offshore solutions (html)
> See TenneT press release on WindConnector study (html)

Illustration: TenneT (computer simulation of an island hub)

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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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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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TenneT conceives artificial North Sea island

11.06.2016

To succeed with the energy transition on a pan-European level, wind and solar energy is needed to a large extent. Since the required amount of energy from renewable sources might be unattainable for some individual European states, close transnational cooperation in terms of infrastructure and facilities is utterly needed. The Dutch-German transmission system operator (TSO) and TSC member TenneT has developed the concept of an island in the North Sea to which numerous high-sea wind farms could be connected and from where the wind electricity could be distributed to North Sea riparian states. An island surrounded by relatively close located wind farms could enjoy the cost benefits of near-shore wind production thanks to short transmission distances. Furthermore, the island might be used as a joint storage of equipment (like turbines or rotor blades), as a port, a landing ground for airplanes and residency for staff. Sea platforms for converter stations would be unnecessary in this scenario. In addition, the island would not only distribute electricity but could also function as nodal point for electricity highways resulting in a transnational interconnection between national energy markets. TenneT calls this concept the “Wind-connector”.

Confessedly, this is a future vision – but it is as ambitious as it is tempting. TenneT will open the discussion with the EU and member states to detect possibilities of cooperation. Beyond that, TenneT will carry out own studies and examinations regarding technical, infrastructural and geographical aspects of the conception.

> See TenneT press release (html)

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