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Denmark to build world's first wind energy hub as an island in the North Sea

Denmark reached a landmark agreement on February 4, 2021, on the construction of an energy hub in the North Sea. The energy hub will be an artificially constructed island 80 kilometers from the shore of the peninsula Jutland. It will be owned by a public-private partnership. The hub will strengthen the integration of Europe’s power grids and increase renewable electricity production necessary for a climate-neutral Europe.

Denmark reached a landmark agreement on February 4, 2021, on the construction of an energy hub in the North Sea. The energy hub will be an artificially constructed island 80 kilometers from the shore of the peninsula Jutland. It will be owned by a public-private partnership. The hub will strengthen the integration of Europe’s power grids and increase renewable electricity production necessary for a climate-neutral Europe (illustration courtesy Danish Energy Agency).

Denmark, currently the largest oil producer in the EU, has introduced a cutoff date of 2050 for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea and canceled all future licensing rounds. By agreeing on the construction and ownership of the world’s first artificial energy island hub in the North Sea, the country takes another significant step in the green transition.

The energy hub will produce yet unseen amounts of green electricity and is one of the government’s flagship projects for the green transition in Europe. Fully implemented it will be able to cover the consumption of 10 million European households.

This is truly a great moment for Denmark and for the global green transition. This decision marks the start of a new era of sustainable energy production in Denmark and the world and it links very ambitious climate goals with growth and green jobs. The energy hub in the North Sea will be the largest construction project in Danish history. It will make a big contribution to the realization of the enormous potential for European offshore wind, and I am excited for our future collaboration with other European countries, said the Minister for Climate, Dan Jørgensen.

Off-shore power plant

The energy hub will serve as an offshore power plant gathering and distributing green electricity from hundreds of wind turbines surrounding the island directly to consumers in countries surrounding the North Sea.

The project will be a public-private partnership between the Danish state and private companies. The State will own the majority of the island, but private companies will be crucial for the project to fulfill the potential as regards innovation, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and business potentials.

The island is expected to have a total area of between 120 000 sq.m (12 hectares) and 460 000 sq.m (46 ha), depending on whether the hub will be host to 3 or 10 GW. The exact size and outline of the island are subject to negotiations with the private partner that wins the bid to construct it.

Ambition to develop e-fuels

Around 200 off-shore wind turbines are expected in the first phase of the project with subsea cables to Denmark and neighboring countries. It is the long-term ambition to be able to store green electricity on the island, convert it to liquid green fuel, so-called electro-fuels (e-fuels).

The artificial island will offer the best opportunities to expand the project, for example by building a harbour and facilities for electricity conversion and storage.

We are at the dawn of a new era for energy. Last year, Denmark set a cutoff date for fossil fuel extraction. Today we are taking a decisive step toward a clean energy future. The EU has set a goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and the Commission has set a target of 300 GW offshore wind energy in order to attain this goal. By constructing the world’s first energy hub with a potential capacity of 10 GW, Denmark significantly contributes to this ambitious target. Not only by dramatically expanding renewable energy production but also by supplying our European neighbors with an abundance of renewable energy, said Minister Jørgensen.

Details about the ownership of the island will be specified in order for a tender for private partnerships to be opened, making the island a reality as soon as possible.

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