9 EU nations to build offshore wind power grid
Dec 7, 2009 - The Associated Press
Nine European nations pledged Monday to build more links between wind power stations in the North and Irish Seas which could help them boost output of renewable energy.
Wind energy producers complain that the few links between countries and power stations allow little wind-generated electricity to be piped quickly where it is needed. The EU's executive also has called for more cross-Europe links to secure the power supply and prevent blackouts.
Energy ministers from Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg promised to develop a new offshore power grid to link up electricity produced from sea-based wind power turbines.
The European Union is aiming to generate a fifth of all its energy from renewable sources by 2020 to reduce reliance on imported oil and gas, and to meet climate change goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Wind power will likely play the major role. The European Wind Energy Association says wind could generate up to 16 percent of all EU energy - or a third of all electricity - by 2020, if governments help fund more wind farms and power links.
Offshore wind farms use bigger and more powerful wind turbines planted in the sea bed and can generate around a third more power than land-based wind stations. They also are far more expensive to build and maintain.