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Ocean grids around Europe

Nov 3, 2008 - By Frederik Groeman, Natalia Moldovan & Peter Vaessen, KEMA - leonardo-energy.org

Several European countries have a policy to encourage the development of renewable en-ergy sources. This is identified in e.g. the European green paper Energy strategy for a sus-tainable, competitive and secure energy supply (March 2006). In the transition towards a European sustainable energy system for the future and to reduce the dependency of im-ported primary energy sources such as oil and gas, the development of offshore wind power is an essential element. EWEA assumes that almost 120,000 MW offshore wind power will be realized in the next two decades, amounting to 10% of the installed generating capaicty. Apart from offshore wind energy other offshore renewable energy sources such as wave en-ergy, tidal energy and some experimental technologies of offshore energy have been con-sidered.

Recent blackouts within Europe have shown that there is a need for increased European co-ordination regarding the transmission of electricity including aspects related to interconnec-tions. In the EU technology platform Smart Grids , attention is paid to the networks of the fu-ture to ensure that they can accommodate and facilitate large amounts of renewable energy, both distributed and concentrated.

Following the European Smart Grids line of thinking, Airtricity has proposed a European off-shore super grid (HVDC based on Voltage Source Converter technology), combining the grid integration of offshore wind farms with an interconnection grid between countries at sea. One could extend the role of this grid and connect all “ocean power” to it. The supergrid could then be part of the European backbone to connect and transmit bulk renewable power from remote generation sites, even as far as North-Africa (Desertec).

The goal of this paper is to discuss "Ocean Grids", grids at sea at a conceptual level. The idea behind Ocean Grids is to provide an offshore backbone for the mainland transmission networks on one hand, and connection points for offshore wind power stations on the other hand. This will include offshore wind energy and other potential energy sources at sea.

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Technical Articles - index of technical articles related to GENI's vision. Includes: articles written by GENI and about GENI concerning the proof of concept and some industry reports relating to the GENI vision