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Offshore wind energy can secure carbon neutrality both in Denmark and Europe. But in order to realise the enormous potential of offshore wind, we need to rethink our approach to deploying offshore wind and handling transmission.
In November 2019, Ørsted presented its vision to use the Danish island of Bornholm, situated in the Baltic Sea, as an energy hub by making it the centre point of a proposed new interconnection between Denmark and Poland, in reality making Bornholm the world’s first energy island. The long-term vision includes some 3-5GW of offshore wind capacity off the coast of the Island and has the prospects of linking the Swedish and German power grids to the hub as well.
The first step would be for the Danish government to put an offshore wind farm with a capacity of 1GW at Rønne Banke, a shallow area situated 20km south-west of Bornholm, out for tender and to connect Denmark and Poland via an interconnector. The offshore wind farm and the interconnector to Poland can ensure a high security of supply on Zealand and feed large amounts of green power from the offshore wind farms into the grids in both Denmark and Poland.
Bornholm offers Denmark and Poland a unique opportunity to achieve experience with offshore wind clusters that can be scaled to energy islands in the future – including in the North Sea – while also in the short term contributing significantly to the green transition and the security of supply in both countries.
The Danish 2020 Finance Act includes initiating a survey of an energy hub at Bornholm.
- Ørsted suggests that, after the already announced Thor offshore wind farm, Denmark puts a 1GW offshore wind farm at Rønne Banke out for tender, to be built at the same time as a new interconnector between Denmark and Poland.
- After the interconnection between Denmark and Poland, the project may be expanded with connections to other countries, such as Sweden and Germany, and the offshore wind capacity may be increased to 3-5GW.
- The green power production can be used to replace fossil fuels in transport and heating as well as to produce renewable hydrogen to help decarbonising shipping, aviation and heavy road transport.
- Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), has already suggested an interconnector between Zealand and Poland in EU’s “Ten Year Network Development Plan”, and it is a realistic project to combine this connection with an offshore wind farm with a 1GW capacity.
- The areas south-west of Bornholm are reserved for government tenders for offshore wind. In a study from April 2019, the Danish Energy Agency has estimated the potential of these areas to above 3GW in Danish waters alone.
- All the proposed areas for offshore wind farms are situated 20km or more off the Bornholm coast.
- The offshore transmission cables will be underground.
Photo: Photo by Ørsted