Port of Rotterdam proposes North Sea power hubs to meet climate goals

ROTTERDAM: July 15, 2019. The North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) consortium has determined the viability of building one or several wind power hubs in the far North Sea with a gradual rollout of 10 to 15 gigawatts hubs as a first step.

The consortium’s aim is to facilitate the large scale roll-out and integration of offshore wind resources with the least cost to society, while maintaining security of supply, as part of the transition to a low-carbon energy system.

The vision is based on an internationally coordinated rollout, combining wind power connection, coupling of energy markets through interconnection, and smart integration in the onshore energy grid including power to gas.

The consortium of TenneT, Energinet, Gasunie and the Port of Rotterdam wants to provide “hundreds of millions of Europeans” with green energy from capacities ranging from 70 to 150 gigawatts by the year 2040 and up to 180 gigawatts by 2045.

Following a range of studies that investigated a number of different scenarios via “intense engagements with policy makers, leading offshore wind farm developers and NGOs”, NSWPH says the a first hub-and-spoke project could be operational in the 2030s.

Once large, far-offshore wind regions have been defined for development, the consortium says it will be possible to develop several hubs that will act as central platforms to transport the energy, e.g. for converting electricity into gas (including and in particular green hydrogen) instead of using the offshore converter platforms commonly used at the moment.

While it is possible to build the first hub based on current EU and national legislation, NSWPH says “significant changes are required in national practices, approaches, planning and policies in order to allow for such integrated infrastructure projects”.

At the same time the members say their proposals meet the Paris Agreement climate goals on time and respond to energy and climate agreements in the Netherlands and Denmark, as well as to Germany’s goal to eliminate coal and nuclear power-based energy sources.