Hanne Storm Edlefsen, Vice President of Energy Island at Energinet

Energinet must investigate whether the North Sea Energy Island can be erected on platforms

For economic reasons, the government has decided to postpone its decision to invite tenders for the North Sea Energy Island as an artificial island. Energinet will now help to investigate whether North Sea Energy Island should be established on a foundation made up of several large platforms.

The reason for the decision is that an artificial island owned by a public-private partnership will likely be too expensive and risky for the State. Analyses from the Danish Energy Agency show that the State may have to pay up to DKK 50 billion for the entire artificial island project.

However, the actual work on developing and planning the North Sea Energy Island is by no means being paused. And nor is Energinet.

The Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities has asked Energinet to contribute to analyses over the coming months. These analyses will show whether or not platforms are an economically and technically more sustainable alternative.

?The coming analyses will inform us whether a platform solution may sufficiently reduce the State?s risk and costs,? says Hanne Storm Edlefsen, Vice President, Energy Islands, Energinet, adding: ?We are far from starting the analyses from scratch. Much of the work we have done so far can be used directly as we are now zooming in on the technical and economic feasibility of the platform solution,? she says.

In addition to the expected economic benefits of platforms, it is also a plus that platforms with converter substations and other high-voltage technology equipment are likely to become the future standard for energy islands, that is for the collection and distribution of large volumes of electricity from offshore wind far out at sea.

The same functionality
Hanne Storm Edlefsen explains: ?The functionality of the electricity transmission part, which is the core of the North Sea Energy Island, remains unchanged whether you choose an island or platform structure. Moreover, another great benefit of the platform structure is that several of our European TSO colleagues have chosen this path and have already placed orders in the market. This applies, for example, to the German TSO TenneT which has signed contracts for converter substations to handle a total of 22 GW of offshore wind power. A large part of this order involves newly developed converter substations on offshore platforms, each of which is able to handle 2 GW.?

The Danish Government and the parties behind the political agreement will, among other things, base their final decision as to whether or not to proceed with the North Sea Energy Island as announced before the end of the year on the platform alternative to the North Sea Energy Island.

The Energy Islands

  • The North Sea Energy Island will produce at least 3 GW in its first phase and at least 10 GW when the project has been fully realised.

  • The other Danish energy island is the Bornholm Energy Island. It will produce 3 GW by 2030 with the possibility of 800 MW so-called overplanting.

  • The underlying structure is not decisive for the core function of the energy islands. The conversion of alternating current from large scale offshore wind power and the distribution of electricity across long distances may be implemented from platforms, artificial islands or, like on Bornholm, from an existing island.

  • The time schedule for the North Sea Energy Island is not expected to be adversely affected by a platform solution. Whichever solution is chosen, 2033 will be an ambitious goal, not least given the pressure on the supplier chains. However, this remains the goal pursued by Energinet.

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