Britain, Netherlands plan to link offshore wind farms

Source: By William Mathis, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The network managers want to use underwater cables to connect as much as 4 gigawatts of offshore wind farms to the power grids of both countries, a move that could open new markets to sell electricity and cut down on times when wind farms are shut off due to oversupply.

Interconnectors will only become more important to Britain as its aging fleet of nuclear reactors shuts down, although a new reactor at Hinkley Point C will boost domestic capacity from 2025. National Grid and Tennet aim to identify a first project to lead the plan by the end of next year and be linked by 2029.

National Grid has been aiming for 7.8 gigawatts of interconnections to Europe by 2024, enough to supply 25% of Britain’s electricity requirements. Brexit is a hurdle to overcome as Britain’s exit from the single market changes how electricity is bought and sold and makes agreements between nations more complicated.

The U.K. is the largest market in the world for offshore wind farms, while the Netherlands is rapidly building up a pipeline of zero-subsidy projects. A link would help broaden the market for unsubsidized projects in the two countries to sell power where prices are highest.