According to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, nine European countries are planning to join forces in creating a EUR 30bn (USD 43bn) renewable energy network around the North Sea, reports ComON. The plan involves the construction of a high-tech electricity grid designed to even out the unavoidable fluctuations in energy production from wind farms and solar arrays, and transport green energy throughout much of Europe.
An undersea high voltage cable network in the North Sea will connect the British, Danish and German offshore wind farms with tidal power plants in Belgium and hydroelectric power plants in Norway, as well as with wind farms and solar arrays on the European mainland. Thousands of kilometres of power cables will be laid to convey the green energy across much of Europe.
Denmark is one of nine countries, which according to Süddeutsche Zeitung agreed to join the comprehensive collaborative venture at a meeting in Ireland in December. The first working groups will take place this month, and a higher level meeting during the spring. In the fall, the nine governments are expected to sign a formal statement of intent and propose a timetable for the project.
To even out the naturally fluctuating energy delivery from wind and solar installations especially, the idea is to transport the energy to Norway, where the electrical energy can be stored as gravitational potential energy by pumping water up to high level reservoirs connected to hydroelectric power stations. The stored energy can then be released on demand simply by opening the sluices to increase power output from the turbines.
European offshore wind farms currently under construction will bring the total wind power capacity to 100 GW, which corresponds to around 10% of Europe's entire energy demand.