Offshore wind power grid for Europe ?14 billion cheaper than expected

Connecting Ireland to France, the UK to Belgium and Germany to Sweden – passing via offshore farm plants and hub connections – there could be a new network of under-sea electricity cables bringing electricity from where it is created out at sea to where it is consumed.

And new research published today has found that such an interconnected grid could be cheaper than originally expected – an offshore electricity grid in the North and Baltic seas, as opposed to cables that connect individual offshore wind turbines to the shore, could in fact result in a €14 billion reduction in investment costs.

The research, contained in the ‘OffshoreGrid: Offshore Electricity Infrastructure in Europe’ report, comes as the European Commission is due to publish its Energy Infrastructure package: On 19 October, the Commission will unveil legislative proposals focussing on identifying electricity infrastructure projects of common interest between EU member states – onshore and offshore; shortening permit granting procedures and removing regulatory barriers to investment in grids.

The aim of the proposals, presented at the TPWind Grids R&D workshop in Brussels on 4 October, is to “create a facilitating environment for private and public investments in energy infrastructure”, Christophe Schramm from the Commission’s department for energy, said.

European Wind Energy Association is currently campaigning with many other associations including BUSINESSEUROPE and Eurelectric for an internal market for electricity and the EU-wide electricity grid needed to deliver it. With the whole of Europe ‘plugged-in’ the continent would have its own secure energy supply, more climate-friendly renewable energy sources could come online, and increased trade could put downward pressure on power prices.

Zoë Casey,