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Could a vast new island be built in the North Sea?

02/01/2018
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A huge new artificial could be constructed in the North Sea if plans by Dutch energy network TenneT come to fruition.

According to the plans, the island would act as a hub for a huge network of offshore wind farms. Dogger Bank, which is located around 70 miles off the East Yorkshire coast has been mooted as a potentially suitable location for the island.
The proposed island would take up around 5-6 sq km.
(Image via TenneT).

If this all sounds rather far-fetched or even like science fiction, TenneT has put some real-world study into the feasibility of the project. A recent report from the firm has indicated that the island could prove to be billions of euros cheaper than conventional windfarms and international power cables.

The island’s location would enable electricity to be sent to a multiplicity of countries including the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Denmark.

Speaking to the Guardian, Rob van der Hage, who manages TenneT’s offshore wind grid development programme, said:

“It’s crucial for the industry to continue with the cost 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.”

Unfortunately though, for every mile further out to sea, another mile of expensive cabling is required to bring the power back to land. By building an island to act as a hub for offshore windfarms, TenneT believes this problem can be negated therefore reducing the overall costs associated with offshore energy generation.
 

Once power has been brought to the island it would then be changed from alternating current to direct current for transfer to mainland UK and Netherlands.

TenneT is set to publish a roadmap for the project this year. If all goes well, the project could be operational by 2027.

Ultimately, the project could generate as much as 30 gigawatts- which is twice the amount of installed offshore wind in all of Europe today.

So, whilst this project is incredibly ambitious it could succeed in bringing large amounts of clean energy to the households and businesses of Europe.

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Could a vast new island be built in the North Sea? - Time to read 2 min
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