Brussels, October 5, 2011 — New results on offshore electricity grid infrastructure in Europe: the EU "OffshoreGrid" project analysis reveals tremendous cost saving potential.
Offshore grids, connecting North and Baltic Sea wind farms to electricity consumers, will be substantially cheaper to build than expected. Building "hub connections" at sea instead of using cables to connect single wind farms individually to the shore will result in investment costs that are 14 billion Euros lower.
Additionally if these hub connections were combined with an even more interconnected "meshed grid," the necessary additional costs of 5 to 7 billion Euros would be compensated by 16 to 21 billion Euros of additional benefits over 25 years of grid operation.
The cost for creating the complete meshed offshore grid including wind farm connections would amount to about 0.1 Eurocent per kWh consumed in the EU27 over the project lifetime.
There have been numerous estimates as to the costs such a grid may involve and the form it may take. The OffshoreGrid project, co-financed by the European Commission, proves the financial benefits of building a meshed European grid offshore and outlines two cost-efficient designs. However, it warns that a new regulatory framework is needed to enable its construction.
Partners of the project, co-funded by the EU's "Intelligent Energy Europe" program, include 3E, the German Energy Agency, the European Wind Energy Association, the Polish Institute for Renewable Energy, the Renewable Energy Sources unit of the National Technical University of Athens, the Norwegian Energy Research Institute, the German Centre for Wind Energy Research and the UK based global energy services Group Senergy Econnect.