Dutch plan vast windfarm island in North Sea

29th December 2017 | Commercial Energy

Britain’s homes could be lit and powered by windfarms surrounding an artificial island deep out in the North Sea, under advanced plans by a Dutch energy network. The radical proposal envisages an island being built to act as a hub for vast offshore windfarms that would eclipse today’s facilities in scale. Dogger Bank, 125 km (78 miles) off the East Yorkshire coast, has been identified as a potentially windy and shallow site.

The power hub would send electricity over a long-distance cable to the UK and Netherlands, and possibly later to Belgium, Germany and Denmark. TenneT, the project’s backer and Dutch equivalent of the UK’s National Grid, recently shared early findings of a study that said its plan could be billions of euros cheaper than conventional windfarms and international power cables.

The sci-fi sounding proposal is sold as an innovative answer to industry’s challenge of continuing to make offshore wind cheaper, as turbines are pushed ever further off the coast to more expensive sites as the best spots closer to land fill up.

Windfarm Island

Rob van de Hage, who managed TenneT’s offshore wind grid development programme, said, “It’s crucial for industry to continue with the coast reduction path. The big challenge we are facing towards 2030 and 2050 is onshore wind is hampered by local opposition and nearshore is nearly full. It’s logical we are looking at areas further offshore.”

As each further mile out to sea means another mile of expensive cabling to get the power back to land, the firm argues a more innovative approach is needed. The island idea would theoretically solve that by allowing economies of scale, higher wind speeds and mean relatively short, affordable cables taking power from offshore turbines to the island. There, converters will change if from alternating current – as used in mains electricity but which incurs losses of power over long distances – to direct current for transmitting back to the UK or Netherlands.

More information available on the website below