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Offshore electricity grids slowed by politics and regulations

Offshore electricity grids in the North and Baltic Sea are being slowed by political and regulatory differences between bordering countries, according to the OffshoreGrid consortium.

Had it not been for these issues, an offshore electricity grid could be in place within 10-15 years.

The European Commission-funded consortium, which consists of 8 organisations, says offshore wind farm developers, operators and traders see a harmonisation of electricity market and electricity transmission rules across Europe as essential for the future offshore grid.

Consortium members

  • 3E
  • German Energy Agency
  • Institute for Renewable Energy / EC BREC IEO
  • Senergy Econnect
  • Energy Research
  • National Technical University of Athens
  • European Wind Energy Association
  • Forwind - Center for Wind Energy Research - University of Oldenburg

National and EU policy makers, being more cautious, would rather opt for making the existing support schemes compatible.

“The problem is that regulatory frameworks for interconnectors and offshore transmission are very different between Member States,” says Achim Woyte, Project Coordinator for OffshoreGrid.

Legal uncertainty and the risk of stranded investments are also hindering the development of an offshore grid. In most of the countries the regulatory framework does not clarify what support an offshore wind farm could be eligible for, if the farm is connected to several different countries.

Offshore grid drivers

Two factors – the EU’s 2020 renewable energy 20% target and the urgent need for improving the security of Europe’s electricity supply – are driving the development of an offshore grid, the report notes.

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