Denmark approves the world’s first “Energy Island” project

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

Noone seems to want wind turbines anywhere near their town, but there’s plenty of room at sea for them …

 

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Denmark, the nation that built the world’s first offshore wind farm, has agreed to an ambitious plan for another global first – a giant energy island in the North Sea which could eventually be capable of supplying energy to a history-making 10 million homes. The project will also create a critical boost to the world’s offshore wind capacity and serve as a model for the rest of the world.

 

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The first “hub and spoke” energy scheme will involve building an island 80 kilometres off the Danish coastline to act as the transmission centre for hundreds of wind turbines surrounding it, and at $34 billion, it’s the largest construction project in Danish history. The project is also a potential blueprint for other coastal nations to develop their own green energy sources.

 

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“It’s in Danish waters, yes, but it could conceptually be in any other country,” said Peter Larsen of the North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme.

 

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The initial phase for the artificial island is around the size of 18 soccer pitches. Initially, the North Sea hub will be capable of producing 3 gigawatts of electricity, but the plan is to scale up to 10 gigawatts, which is nearly one-and-a-half times Denmark’s current needs as a country.

 

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As well as supplying other European countries with electricity, the goal is to use the new offshore island to produce green hydrogen from seawater, which can also be exported. Large batteries on the island, which will act as grid scale storage, will store surplus electricity for use when electricity demand is high.

 

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Although the Danish government will own a majority stake, private companies will be invited to join a public-private partnership to build the project. Power will be supplied by as many as 600 giant wind turbines, each standing up to 260 metres tall.

Such efforts are key given new climate-first commitments from countries around the world. As Reuters has reported, the European Union intends to depend entirely on renewable energy by 2031, increasing its energy capacity 25-fold by 2050.

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