Friday, February 13, 2009

Ocean Grids

Several European countries have a policy to encourage the development of renewable en-ergy sources. This is identified in e.g. the European green paper Energy strategy for a sustainable, competitive and secure energy supply (March 2006). In the transition towards a European sustainable energy system for the future and to reduce the dependency of imported primary energy sources such as oil and gas, the development of offshore wind power is an essential element. EWEA assumes that almost 120,000 MW offshore wind power will be realized in the next two decades, amounting to 10% of the installed generating capaicty. Apart from offshore wind energy other offshore renewable energy sources such as wave en-ergy, tidal energy and some experimental technologies of offshore energy have been con-sidered.

Following the European Smart Grids line of thinking, Airtricity has proposed a European off-shore super grid (HVDC based on Voltage Source Converter technology), combining the grid integration of offshore wind farms with an interconnection grid between countries at sea. One could extend the role of this grid and connect all “ocean power” to it. The supergrid could then be part of the European backbone to connect and transmit bulk renewable power from remote generation sites, even as far as North-Africa (Desertec).

A paper by Frederik Groeman, Natalia Moldovan and Peter Vaessen discuss "Ocean Grids", grids at sea at a conceptual level. The idea behind Ocean Grids is to provide an offshore backbone for the mainland transmission networks on one hand, and connection points for offshore wind power stations on the other hand. This will include offshore wind energy and other potential energy sources at sea.

Click here to download the paper

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