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National Grid talks over North Sea ‘energy island’

DeepWind offshore

The proposed wind farm would be ‘significantly’ larger than existing ones

An energy island surrounded by giant wind farms using interconnected technologies could be built in the North Sea before the end of the decade.

National Grid is in talks about helping to build the project and said the scheme would involve significantly larger offshore wind farms than existing ones, and would direct energy to participating countries via underwater cables.

The company has recently completed the world’s longest undersea power cable, between the UK and Norway, and this latest initiative could represent a big step towards Boris Johnson’s aim of powering the UK entirely by renewables by 2035.

Nicola Medalova, the company’s managing director of interconnectors, sees the energy island being able to combine several technologies.

“You could have wind, hydrogen, battery storage, all the rest of it, and that can be connected to one country, two countries,” she told New Scientist.

Ms Medalova said she expected that all new interconnectors would be hybrid, with the ability to connect to offshore windfarms, and there was an expectation for windfarm developers and interconnector companies to take a “collaborative, sharing approach” to take pressure off coastal communities.

Other energy network operators in the region that have shown an interest in creating energy islands include TenneT in the Netherlands and Elia in Belgium.

The Danish Energy Agency is planning to build energy islands in the North and Baltic seas. The Danish government committed in February to taking a majority stake in a £25bn artificial energy island 50 miles offshore in the North Sea.

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