Offshore wind power may soon cross national boundaries more easily than ever, based on news from the Copenhagen climate summit. Nine European nations announced plans for a “supergrid” in the North Sea that would allow them to connect Irish wind farms to continental Europe, or vice versa.
No funding figures have emerged just yet, but the project could help Europe reach its goal of getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020. Green, Inc. reports that offshore wind power currently makes up just 0.3 percent of Europe’s electricity use, compared to Denmark’s 4.5 percent of electricity from offshore wind farms.
The North Seas Countries’ Offshore Grid Initiative includes Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden and Ireland. A supergrid connecting all those nations might not only create a wider electricity market, but also encourage offshore wind power development.
European nations such as Norway have begun installing deep-water wind turbines that could expand the current offshore wind farms. U.S. companies such as GE have also begun investigating gearless wind turbines that could find an offshore home in Europe.