First Energy Island to Provide Electricity for 3 Million Households

Denmark is revolutionizing the wind turbine and renewable energy industry by planning to create their own energy island 80kms offshore in the North Sea that can gather and distribute energy generated from wind farms.

This island would function as the central hub for as many as 200 offshore wind turbines and the Danish government expects that the project will be completed and operational by 2030. [1]

Not only is this going to be the largest construction in Danish history, but it could also supply electricity to other nearby countries as well, such as Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands should they wish to participate.

A second energy island is also planned for construction in the Baltic sea and together, these islands will initially generate 5GW of electricity with the level of production increasing to over 12GW in the long term as the systems are expanded and optimized. For perspective, 5GW of electricity is enough to power approximately 5 million European households.[2]

Danish authorities estimate that each island will be the size of 18 football fields (120,000sq m), and while they will act as the central hub for wind farms, they will also serve crucial roles in the production and distribution of green hydrogen fuel for use in the shipping, aviation, and heavy transport industries.[3]

The island construction project is currently estimated at around €28 billion (£24.5 billion), and the Danish government will retain 51% ownership of the islands with the remaining 49% being taken up by the private sector and possibly other governments. [4]

All of this is a move in the right direction after Denmark announced in 2020 that they plan on completely ending their oil and gas exploration efforts in the North Sea by 2050.[5] The Danish parliament also unanimously announced that they plan on cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 70% that of their 1990 levels by 2030. [6]

The key revolutionary feature of these energy islands, setting them apart from the typical wind farms that we are already seeing around the world, is that instead of every wind turbine producing electricity for one single country, the pool of energy held by the energy island will give multiple countries easy access to renewable energy where they can tap into a source that is not too geographically distant. This is most likely to become one of the key methods in which the Paris Climate Agreement may be successfully reached, giving multiple nations easy access to renewable energy and providing an example to many others who are not within reach of these two planned islands.

The idea of energy islands has been a joint venture between Denmark’s Energinet and the North Sea Wind Power Hub, with these two organizations investigating and developing the idea since 2017. And while the energy island that’s planned to be constructed in the Baltic Sea will be located on the already existing island of Bornholm, the one that will be located in the North Sea will be constructed on either a sand island, using steel platforms, or on a large concrete container that is lowered into place.[7]

 

[1] Energinet, “Energy Islands in Denmark”, https://en.energinet.dk/Green-Transition/Energy-Islands

[2] Energinet, “Energy Islands in Denmark”, https://en.energinet.dk/Green-Transition/Energy-Islands

[3] Euronews, “Denmark to build world’s first energy island in the North Sea”, https://www.euronews.com/2021/02/05/denmark-to-build-world-s-first-energy-island-in-the-north-sea

[4] Euronews, “Denmark to build world’s first energy island in the North Sea”, https://www.euronews.com/2021/02/05/denmark-to-build-world-s-first-energy-island-in-the-north-sea

[5] BBC News, “Denmark set to end all new oil and gas exploration” https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55184580

[6] North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme, “The First Hub-And-Spoke Energy Island”, https://northseawindpowerhub.eu/the-first-hub-and-spoke-energy-island/

[7] Energinet, “Energy Islands in Denmark”, https://en.energinet.dk/Green-Transition/Energy-Islands

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