Ten European Countries Sign Up for North Sea Offshore Grid

December 8, 2010

Photo of wind turbines in the ocean.

Offshore turbines like these located near Sweden could be linked to the EU offshore grid.
Credit: Seimens

Nine European Union (EU) nations and Norway signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on December 3 to develop an offshore energy grid linking renewable wind energy sources in the North Sea. The 10 countries—Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom—committed to work together to identify and to overcome the regulatory, legal, market, planning, and technical issues involved in creating a North Sea grid. The grid, targeted to begin operating by 2020, is designed to allow the countries to share electricity among the British Isles and mainland Europe.

Already, the ISLES project (Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study), is assessing the possibility of connecting Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland in an Irish Sea and Atlantic coast grid. The new MOU calls for, among other things, an assessment of technical considerations through 2030 to be delivered by June 2011. Scotland's Energy Minister Jim Mather hailed the EU initiative because it will draw upon the ISLES work in overcoming challenges of a sub-sea grid. See the Scottish government press release and the MOUPDF.