Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Huge North Sea wind farm could power Denmark, neighbors

Ahead of a high-profile climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Danish officials are talking up an ambitious program to develop the world’s largest offshore wind power complex with a view to providing electricity to not only Denmark, but some of its neighbours. Has the potential to provide sufficient green energy for Too.

The complex, to sit on and around an artificial North Sea island about 80 km off the coast of Denmark, will span the size of 64 soccer fields and support thermal storage facilities, HVDC converters, a heliport and a research and visitor center. Will do .

Approximate North Sea Wind Farm Map:

“You can have hundreds of wind turbines around this island,” Dan Jorgensen, Denmark’s climate and energy minister, said during a visit to Washington this month. His government has calculated that Energy Island could generate 10 gigawatts of electricity – enough for 10 million homes.

“Since we are only 5.8 million people in Denmark, we have much more electricity than we would need for ourselves, so we want other countries to be a part of it,” said Jorgensen, adding that Denmark is negotiating with other European countries. Used to be. Country.

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The 10-GW estimate is at the high end of what could ultimately be built. According to Jorgensen, the current plan allows for a range of three to 10 gigawatts. But even on the low end, Energy Island will dwarf the largest existing offshore wind farm – Britain’s Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea, which has the potential to generate 0.66 gigawatts and provide electricity to 600,000 homes.

The world’s largest wind farm of any kind is a 10-gigawatt complex completed this summer and located in China’s northwestern Gansu province. The next largest of any kind is the 1.6-GW wind farm in Jaisalmer, India.

FILE – A car drives near a wind turbine at a power station near Yumen, Gansu province, China, September 29, 2020.

“This is the largest infrastructure investment in the history of my country, but we hope it will be a good business model,” Jorgensen told VOA.

“There will be some initial costs, but we are prepared to bear them because it will also mean that we get the project itself, but the development information, skills and expertise that we want.”

The project is notable not only for its size but also for its innovative approach to some of the toughest obstacles to rid the world of fossil fuels. These include finding an efficient way to store the energy generated from wind turbines and a way to convert electricity into fuel to power transportation systems.

Denmark plans to convert electricity into hydrogen, which can be used directly as an energy source or turned into fuel for use “in ships, aircraft and trucks”, as Jorgensen put it.

“It sounds a bit like science fiction, but really it’s just science; we know how to do it,” he said.

Jorgensen said that while talks between the Danish government, industry, scientists and potential investors are still at an early stage, a decision has already been made.

“We want at least 50.1% of the island to be publicly owned,” he said, adding that the island has “critical infrastructure because it will be such a large part of our energy supply.” He said the actual wind turbines would be owned by the investors.

“So far we have seen interest from Danish companies and investment funds; we have also seen interest from the governments of several European countries. We expect, of course, this will also mean companies from other countries, certainly European, But maybe others too.”

Brussels-based Danish economist Jacob F. Kierkegaard says the ambitious plan is laudable in light of Denmark’s track record in developing green energy.

“There are already several days in which Denmark derives all its electric power from wind power, so rapid electrification is coming as offshore wind farms expand more rapidly,” he told VOA in an emailed exchange. Told.

He said he had “no doubt” that Denmark would achieve full decarbonization by 2050, “perhaps even earlier” by that date, thanks to widespread public support, particularly from the youth.

According to the Danish Embassy in Washington, more than 50% of Denmark’s electrical grid is already powered by wind and solar power, and the government projects that renewable energy will meet 100% of the country’s electricity needs by 2028.

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