50Hertz and Danish grid operator Energinet pursue collaboration in the "Bornholm Energy Island" project to connect both countries to an offshore hub with around 2,000 MW of wind power capacity that is planned on the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm. Stefan Kapferer, CEO of 50Hertz, and Thomas Egebo, CEO of Energinet, signed a corresponding Letter of Intent yesterday. In the future, other partners from the Baltic area will join the initially bilateral cooperation.
The joint project is the continuation of the successful cooperation between both grid operators. In addition to the KONTEK interconnector, the first "hybrid connection" in the world, Kriegers Flak - Combined Grid Solution (KF CGS), was inaugurated in the autumn of last year and has in the meantime been put into operation. This "hybrid connection" links the power grids of both countries while also integrating the offshore wind farms along this route.
The new project, "Bornholm Energy Island", will connect Germany and Denmark by means of an interconnector during the first phase of development. Electricity from the offshore wind farms surrounding Bornholm will be fed into this interconnector on the island. In the following phases, connections to other littoral states and offshore wind farms of the Baltic Sea will be developed gradually.
According to the current planning of Denmark, the wind farms will be constructed at sea, some 20 km to the south and south-west of Bornholm, and connected to the offshore hub on the island via submarine cables. The Danish parliament specified a time frame until 2030 for these activities. An advantage of this project, compared to other planned offshore hubs, for instance in the North Sea, is that a natural island is already available. This makes it possible to efficiently and flexibly construct the installations. As a result, they will become an example for other hybrid projects and further offshore development.
On the occasion of signing of the mutual Letter of Intent (LoI), 50Hertz CEO Stefan Kapferer commented: "For Europe's energy future, the seas that surround us are of central importance. Together with our reliable partner Energinet, we want to launch a new innovative project for the energy transition and climate protection. With this project, we are not only making technological progress, but must also break new regulatory ground for the transnational use and remuneration of the generated power together with policy-makers and the offshore wind industry."
Energinet CEO Thomas Egebo stated: "If we are to succeed in the massive expansion of offshore wind, which is necessary in the coming years to fulfil the Paris climate agreement, it is absolutely vital that a significant change of gear is now taking place. A change of gears from national expansion with individual wind farms to energy islands, which in essence are and only can be transnational projects."
The Letter of Intent between 50Hertz and Energinet was preceded by several important political decisions. In September 2020, the littoral states of the Baltic Sea, including Germany and Denmark, signed a joint statement on cooperation in offshore wind power projects, so that more areas can be used for renewable energy than was the case until now. On this basis, seven transmission system operators founded the "Baltic Sea Offshore Grid Initiative" in December to help develop the wind power generating potential in the Baltic Sea of around 93 GW and a potential annual generation volume of over 300 TWh/year. Moreover, today's LoI between 50Hertz and Energinet was recently preceded by an agreement between the governments of Germany and Denmark to intensify cooperation in the development of offshore wind power.
50Hertz and Energinet agreed to first carry out additional analyses to establish, over the course of this year, a solid economic and technical basis for the further steps towards the best possible project implementation. The two system operators seek to drive this project forward in close exchange with the competent ministries of both countries.
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