The Netherlands: Consortium Investigates ‘Plug Socket’ North Sea Wind Farms

Over the next four years, a consortium of nine parties will be investigating how to reduce the cost price of wind energy by developing an innovative electricity infrastructure on the North Sea. Last month, the Dutch government awarded a 2 million euro grant to this innovative ‘plug socket’ project in the framework of the Top Teams Knowledge & Innovation.

The Rutte II Cabinet has set itself the target of achieving 16% renewably-generated energy by 2020. Wind energy generated at sea is an essential contributor. To achieve this goal, it will be vital to reduce the cost price of offshore wind, because wind energy at present is not yet competitive.

The consortium consists of Nuon/Vattenfall, Liandon, ECN, RoyalHaskoningDHV, Groningen Centre of Energy Law of the University of Groningen, Delft University of Technology, DC Offshore and Energy Solutions, and is coordinated by Grontmij. Between January 2013 and December 2017, the consortium will be investigating the feasibility of an innovative electricity infrastructure on the North Sea. The consortium will examine technical solutions, changes to international legislation and regulations and new financing models.

At present, each country has its own, independent electricity infrastructure. By combining the individual infrastructures via a single cable route, a so-called Interconnector, expectations are that the cost price will drop down. The interconnector will make offshore windflexibly available to the country in which demand is present at that moment.

By developing this innovative electricity infrastructure on the North Sea, offshore wind farms can be directly connected to the international electricity grid.

Press Release, January 07, 2013

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