By Max Clarke
“Europe’s future lies in green energy and Britain wants to work with other countries”
Plans to explore linking up green energy projects in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas were backed by Prime Minister David Cameron today as part of the UK-Baltic-Nordic Summit held in London.
The Prime Minister announced that Energy Ministers will work together through the North Seas Offshore Grid Initiative and share experience with Ministers in the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) to ensure planning, market, regulatory and technical challenges are properly addressed and the right framework created for industry to invest in future projects.
An electricity supergrid could take green electricity produced in one country to another through thousands of kilometres of sub-sea cables. Wind farms built out at sea could also be connected to a number of countries.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said:
“Europe’s future lies in green energy and Britain wants to work with other countries to make the most of the clean energy potential in and around the North Sea.
“Today we’re stepping up our efforts with our European partners to develop a North Sea electricity supergrid that will help secure our energy supplies in a low carbon way.”
And commenting, on today’s announcement by Siemens selecting Associated British Ports as its preferred bidder for a UK wind turbine factory at the Port of Hull, Mr Huhne said:
“The race for offshore wind manufacturing jobs is on, and Siemens and the Humber are first out of the traps. I'm determined the UK economy benefits from the opportunities and jobs of the offshore wind supply chain.”
The plans could help Europe meet its ambitious green energy targets and help Europe’s energy security, by balancing some of the challenges of using wind energy, including intermittency and the inability to store electricity.
For example, surplus wind energy produced off Britain’s coast (when electricity demand in the UK is low, but wind speed is high) could be exported to Norway and used to pump water in its hydro-electric power stations. Electricity produced by hydropower could then be sent to Britain at times of high demand when the wind is not blowing.