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Published on January 4th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer

19

Europe Unites to Invest $40 Billion in Huge Off-Shore Renewable Energy Super-Grid

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January 4th, 2010 by
 

This month Europe’s first electricity super-grid dedicated to renewable energy will become a political reality, as part of Europe’s plan to meet its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.

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Nine countries will draw up formal plans to link up a super-grid of powerful clean energy projects strung out all around the North Sea in order to ship renewable power to the mainland.

The huge new undersea transmission cable will connect up Scotland’s off-shore wind turbines off the coast of Scotland, and solar from Germany, hydro power from Norway and wave power off the coast of Belgium and Denmark.

The North Sea nations – Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the UK will ultimately connect this planned North Sea super-grid with the equally huge scale Desertec grid bringing continent-scale solar from Africa to supply not only Africa but Europe; bringing it in to Spain and Portugal.

The widely spread-out North Sea grid would solve the “intemittency” problem for wind: one farm may be idled by locally calmed conditions, but when turbines are spaced out far enough, the wind is always blowing somewhere, keeping the power supply stable.

The network of super efficient undersea transmission cables would cost about $43 billion US (€30bn). More than 100GW of off-shore wind energy projects are now under development in Europe, around 10% of European electricity demand.

Because powerful winds discourage settlements, good wind energy resources will always be greatest far from where cities develop. Europe’s success in tapping that resource and connecting it to far away cities will be instructive for the US, if we care to learn in time.

We also have “stranded wind” – enough wind potential to supply 25% of the entire US needs in North Dakota alone, but no major transmission lines to connect up a statewide line of turbines needed to balance out the power, and to send it to population centers.

Our own off-shore wind potential down the Atlantic Seaboard could supply 100% of the electricity needs of people living in the nine states from Massachusetts to North Carolina. A quarter of the US population lives in those nine states.

Image:Flikr user Ben

Source: Guardian

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Andrea Bakurva

    Wow so great picture,, i like the view also $40 billion wow its worth it coz look at the view so nice and has waterfalls,, maybe so many people visit here.

  • http://www.onlinecharlestonrealestate.com/ Sandra Hopkins

    Seeing from the past projects, hope this will turn out good. I’ve been late in posting this reply. How was this project now? Did it turn out well?

  • http://www.bodyenvybootcamp.com Chandler Camp

    That’s a lot of money to spend, I sincerely hope they find renewable energy for that price tag.

  • http://phyllisstephen.com Phyllis Stephen

    You mention wave power from Belgium in your article, but the largest wave energy generator is in fact installed in the sea just off Orkney.

    Aquamarine Power’s innovative Oyster device is the world’s largest working hydro-electric wave energy converter. Aquamarine is a Scottish company and you can see the device in action on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4O0JcNfTKo

  • http://phyllisstephen.com Phyllis Stephen

    You mention wave power from Belgium in your article, but the largest wave energy generator is in fact installed in the sea just off Orkney.

    Aquamarine Power’s innovative Oyster device is the world’s largest working hydro-electric wave energy converter. Aquamarine is a Scottish company and you can see the device in action on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4O0JcNfTKo

  • http://www.i2eyedesign.com Mac McDougal

    I am surprised at the negative tone of the comments so far. I see nothing but good things here. In fact, I copied the URL and sent it to a broadcast list of my friends, asking them to contrast the Europeans’ rapid and technically sophisticated actions with America’s petro-lobby-induced slumber. The Europeans have shown that it *is possible for a set of capitalist societies to act for the good of the globe. And that, my nay-saying friends, is good news.

  • http://www.i2eyedesign.com Mac McDougal

    I am surprised at the negative tone of the comments so far. I see nothing but good things here. In fact, I copied the URL and sent it to a broadcast list of my friends, asking them to contrast the Europeans’ rapid and technically sophisticated actions with America’s petro-lobby-induced slumber. The Europeans have shown that it *is possible for a set of capitalist societies to act for the good of the globe. And that, my nay-saying friends, is good news.

  • Uncle B

    As an expanding Asia demands more of the finite world resources, and Americans with a weak U.S. dollar are unable to compete, Europeans already far behind fall further behind the “Power of the Yuan” and with oil scarcity a fact, and Asian thirst for black gold a reality, the Western World of Democracies will have to depend less and less on oil and more on Solar Wind Wave, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal and Nuclear /Electric projects just to maintain the status quo! This re-distribution of power sources has already caused painful paradigm shifts in American society, where the “V-8″ engine is replaced by Foreign four cylinder engines, and GM(America) the SUV maker to the world struggles with bankruptcy and $80.00 /bbl oil. The Arabs, through lenses tinted by religious and financial fervor have misled the world on reserves available, and will soon be caught with dry wells as Yemen experiences today! Coal will be king again for a short while in America out of necessity, as will Nuclear, until coal and nuclear fuel cartels make the perpetuity of Solar Wave, Wind, Tidal, and Geothermal power more attractive to long term investors, and America will follow suit with Europe in development of Electric Bullet train intercity networks(400% more efficient) to replace the oil hungry jet planes and highways it now uses. Subways, trams and trains will abound as mankind switched in the next few decades from an overabundance of oil to electric power, right down to the battery cars we will all drive. Europe is in simple preparation for the inevitable as the oil wells run dry, and only very expensive oil is found in very deep, difficult wells, or Tar Sands, is found. Little “Sweet Light Crude” left close to surface, even by satellite search is found. Turkmenistan and the Afghanistan pipe-dream of Halliburton(Dubai) belays this as true, Why else would they go to such trouble for so little resource, if other drill targets were available to them? America is on its last “Oil Hunt” and the government there knows it! Expect Shocking news from the deluded Saudis, and soon!

  • Uncle B

    As an expanding Asia demands more of the finite world resources, and Americans with a weak U.S. dollar are unable to compete, Europeans already far behind fall further behind the “Power of the Yuan” and with oil scarcity a fact, and Asian thirst for black gold a reality, the Western World of Democracies will have to depend less and less on oil and more on Solar Wind Wave, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal and Nuclear /Electric projects just to maintain the status quo! This re-distribution of power sources has already caused painful paradigm shifts in American society, where the “V-8″ engine is replaced by Foreign four cylinder engines, and GM(America) the SUV maker to the world struggles with bankruptcy and $80.00 /bbl oil. The Arabs, through lenses tinted by religious and financial fervor have misled the world on reserves available, and will soon be caught with dry wells as Yemen experiences today! Coal will be king again for a short while in America out of necessity, as will Nuclear, until coal and nuclear fuel cartels make the perpetuity of Solar Wave, Wind, Tidal, and Geothermal power more attractive to long term investors, and America will follow suit with Europe in development of Electric Bullet train intercity networks(400% more efficient) to replace the oil hungry jet planes and highways it now uses. Subways, trams and trains will abound as mankind switched in the next few decades from an overabundance of oil to electric power, right down to the battery cars we will all drive. Europe is in simple preparation for the inevitable as the oil wells run dry, and only very expensive oil is found in very deep, difficult wells, or Tar Sands, is found. Little “Sweet Light Crude” left close to surface, even by satellite search is found. Turkmenistan and the Afghanistan pipe-dream of Halliburton(Dubai) belays this as true, Why else would they go to such trouble for so little resource, if other drill targets were available to them? America is on its last “Oil Hunt” and the government there knows it! Expect Shocking news from the deluded Saudis, and soon!

  • juangault

    They better get this ok’ed with the spire builders, or the future folks will just ignore it and let it fall apart.

  • juangault

    They better get this ok’ed with the spire builders, or the future folks will just ignore it and let it fall apart.

  • chrisp68

    So JJ we should just forget the whole idea and just keep burning everything? We can’t keep releasing all the stored up energy from millions and millions of years of sunshine.

  • chrisp68

    So JJ we should just forget the whole idea and just keep burning everything? We can’t keep releasing all the stored up energy from millions and millions of years of sunshine.

  • JJ

    I sure hope that if any nuclear is still standing in the EU they might be allowed to get on this super grid party line. I didn’t see nuclear mentioned anywhere, oh well they must have turned the last one off. Good job Greenpeace!

  • JJ

    I sure hope that if any nuclear is still standing in the EU they might be allowed to get on this super grid party line. I didn’t see nuclear mentioned anywhere, oh well they must have turned the last one off. Good job Greenpeace!

  • http://www.getfitsandiego.com/ Regina

    Hopefully this project will pay for itself (and then some) in no time. Best of luck to them!

  • http://www.getfitsandiego.com/ Regina

    Hopefully this project will pay for itself (and then some) in no time. Best of luck to them!

  • Santo Clause

    Judging by past projects, they’re in for a lot of bickering before it gets going. Anything involving a group of countries will be a mess. Like that whole

    Iraq thing. Good luck.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_positioning_system

    It will be better than GPS when it’s done.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro

    Not that the US dollar is doing very well with all of the debt…

  • Santo Clause

    Judging by past projects, they’re in for a lot of bickering before it gets going. Anything involving a group of countries will be a mess. Like that whole

    Iraq thing. Good luck.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_positioning_system

    It will be better than GPS when it’s done.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro

    Not that the US dollar is doing very well with all of the debt…

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