The North Sea is already home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm, but its seems the sea is about to get even greener as ten EU countries have signed a memorandum to develop an international offshore energy grid. The memorandum saw Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom pledge to combine renewable wind energy sources in the sea. The grid, which would become fully operational in 2020, would allow the EU countries to share renewable electricity throughout the continent and the British Isles.

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The ten countries have pledged to work together to identify and to overcome the regulatory, legal, market, planning, and technical issues that will come with creating the North Sea grid. At the center of the North Sea Grid is Scotland, whose experience with offshore grids and the award-winning ISLES project (Irish Scottish Links on Energy Study) makes it the ideal country to headline the grid project.

Speaking about the project, Energy Minister Jim Mather said: “Scotland is playing a key role in the development and deployment of an interconnected offshore grid in the North Sea, recently highlighted as a European Union priority project. A North Sea grid will plug Scotland in to export even greater amounts of the clean, green energy which Scotland’s natural resources can produce in abundance. The Scottish Government is already part of a working group on North Sea grid connections and the Memorandum notes the substantial co-operation and practical support of governments across Europe to build a North Sea grid. Scotland will play a full and active part in the development of this crucial piece of infrastructure that will further help us transform to a low-carbon economy.”

“I am pleased our leadership has been recognized through the commitment in the Memorandum to recognise our valuable work on the ISLES Project, which is already helping us to understand the specific and varied obstacles in developing sub sea grids. Our Good Practice in Wind project, which is working with partners from across Europe to enhance wind energy planning, will also play an important role. We will also continue to work with the European Union and the UK Government to solve some of the wider barriers to offshore renewables development and deployment.”

The North Sea Offshore Grid will not only allow Scotland to export large amounts of renewable energy to the rest of Europe, but will diversify the continent’s energy supplies and help cut emissions.

+ Scottish Government

Via EERE News