A second power cable will be laid over the bottom of the North Sea between the Netherlands and England, but this time with a connection to one of the large Dutch wind farms in the North Sea. Minister Jetten for Climate and Energy and his British colleague announced this scoop this afternoon at a conference of North Sea countries in Ostend, Belgium.
Heads of government and energy ministers will talk there with the top of the European Commission about cooperation in the construction of the energy infrastructure in the North Sea. Last year, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Denmark already made agreements in Esbjerg, Denmark, about the construction of more wind farms in the North Sea. Norway, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Luxembourg have now also joined the collaboration.
Since the war in Ukraine, Europe has wanted to become independent of gas from Russia as soon as possible. In addition to the import of liquefied gas from other parts of the world, there is therefore also a need to speed up the transition from fossil to sustainable energy. Expansion of the construction of wind farms in the North Sea is an important part of this.
For the planned expansion of wind farms in the North Sea, countries will have to spend tens of billions of euros on electricity cables, generator platforms and hydrogen pipelines in the coming years. A lot of money can be saved by jointly constructing a large part of this infrastructure. Moreover, countries can also exchange electricity with each other via the joint infrastructure.
A first step in that direction is the connection of a new power cable between the Netherlands and England to one of the future Dutch wind farms. With a capacity of 2 gigawatts, the entire province of South Holland can theoretically be supplied with British nuclear power if there is no wind. When the Netherlands produces too much electricity, as it did last week, the electricity from the Dutch wind farm can be transported directly to England. Grid manager Tennet recently presented plans for connections with various North Sea countries.
Today in Ostend, the heads of government, including Prime Minister Rutte, will also discuss the security of the infrastructure in the North Sea with President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission. Not only are intelligence services, the navy and the coastguard detecting Russian espionage activities, there are also indications of actual sabotage of a cable in Norwegian waters off Spitsbergen.
As the Netherlands and other North Sea countries become increasingly dependent on electricity and hydrogen from offshore wind, the countries are also becoming more vulnerable to sabotage. The explosions in the gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 & 2 near the Danish island of Bornholm have made it clear that the danger of sabotage on the seabed is a real threat.
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