Report: Offshore Electricity Grid Needs Coordinated Approach

An offshore North Sea and Baltic Sea electricity grid could be in place within 10 to 15 years, but its development is being slowed by political and regulatory differences between countries bordering both bodies of water, according to a report published by the OffshoreGrid consortium.

The European Commission-funded consortium states that offshore wind farm developers, operators and traders see a harmonization of electricity market and electricity transmission rules across Europe as essential for the future offshore grid. National and European Union (EU) policy-makers, being more cautious, would rather opt for making the existing support schemes compatible, according to the report.

‘The problem is that regulatory frameworks for interconnectors and offshore transmission are very different between member states,’ says Achim Woyte, project coordinator for OffshoreGrid.

Legal uncertainty and the risk of stranded investments are also hindering the development of an offshore grid. In most of the countries, the regulatory framework does not clarify what support an offshore wind farm could be eligible,, if the farm is connected to several different countries.

Two factors – the EU's 20% by 2020 renewable energy target and the urgent need for improving the security of Europe's electricity supply – are driving the development of an offshore grid, the report notes.

SOURCE: European Wind Energy Association

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