Europe 'supergrid' hopefuls cast fate to wind

The Friends of the Supergrid group of companies says that tying together offshore wind farms would compensate for the variability of wind power.

Ten companies pushing to build a pan-European offshore power network that could help cut carbon emissions and cost customers over 20 billion euros got together in London on Monday.

The Friends of the Supergrid (FOSG) brings together companies that want to build the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) infrastructure together with those that hope to develop, install, own, and operate it.

Building interconnectors to link offshore wind farms across the North Sea from Sweden and Denmark to Britain could cost 15 billion to 20 billion euros, according to a report commissioned by Greenpeace, in addition to the tens of billions needed to build the wind farms themselves over the next decade.

"We now need to integrate this huge resource into Europe to enable the open trade of electricity between Member States," Mainstream Renewable Power's Chief Executive Eddie O'Connor said.

Friends of the Supergrid logo

"The Friends of the Supergrid is uniquely placed to influence policy-makers toward creating the Supergrid and ultimately changing how we generate, transmit and consume electricity for generations to come."

Around 57 billion euros ($83 billion) of cumulative investments in wind energy is expected by 2020 to build 40 gigawatts of generating capacity, according to the European Wind Energy Association.

Backers say a "supergrid" could compensate for the variability of wind power to make better use of Europe's growing green energy capacity.

Last October Britain and Norway began studying linking up the world's longest subsea power cable to share energy from wind farms in the North Sea when it is windy and Nordic hydropower when it is not.

The 10 companies in the FOSG are 3E, Areva, DEME Blue Energy, Elia, Hochtief Construction, Mainstream Renewable Power, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Prysmian Cables and Systems, Siemens, and Visser & Smit Marine Contracting.

 

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