If the Dutch plan succeeds, homes in the UK, the Netherlands, or Belgium could be lit and powered by wind farms that surround the artificial island deep in the North Sea.
The radical project plans to build an island that would serve as a hub for a huge offshore wind farm. It would surround an artificial island that the Dutch want to build on the Dogger Bank. Dogger Bank, which stretches 125 kilometers from the East Coast of Yorkshire, was designated as a potentially windy and shallow location. The power hub would send electricity over the long-distance cable to the UK and the Netherlands, or to Belgium, Germany, and Denmark.
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TenneT, the Dutch equivalent of British National Grid, is a big supporter of the project. They recently shared findings from an earlier study. It states that this plan could be billions of euros cheaper than conventional wind power plants and international power cables.
The “Sci-Fi” proposal is a response to industry pressure that requires the development of offshore wind farms. They have pushed further away from the coast, which significantly increases costs. According to Rob van der Haga, who runs TenneT’s offshore wind power development program, it is important that the industry continues to strive to cut costs. Since every extra mile to the sea means another mile of expensive cabling, the company believes it is necessary to choose a new, unusual solution.
The artificial islands would allow for economies of scale, higher wind speeds, and cables that would transfer energy from coastal pipes to the island would be cheaper. In order to place all the facilities on an artificial island, it should have about 5 to 6 square kilometers, which is approximately one-fifth of the size of Hayling Island in the Channel of La Manche.
The main obstacle of renewable energy development is funding
Although TenneT may invest £ 1.5 billion in the construction of the island and the central center, it does not have permission to produce electricity. However, the production could be transferred to branch offshore wind farms, such as the Danish company Ørsted or the German company Innogy. If TenneT wants to join, they must also find other power grid operators. For example, the British National Grid, which would help pay the long-distance power cables.
The next steps will be taken in 2018 when the first version of the timetable will be published in the Netherlands. If everything goes well, the island could be finished in 2027, according to Van der Haga. Then wind power would be built.
TenneT thinks that the project will handle wind turbines with a capacity of 30 GW, more than double the current offshore wind farms across Europe. This could attract new investors.
The project also gained public confidence. The Danish ambassador to the Netherlands said plans and visions are interesting. Also, Innogy, who is not involved in the project, said the plan is very interesting and trusted. The only thing that makes wrinkles at the forefront of experts is the funding of the project.