Denmark approves plans to build North Sea ‘energy island’

Denmark has moved forward with plans for an artificial island in the North Sea that could generate wind power for at least three million households, a government spokesman said on Friday.

Denmark approves plans to build North Sea 'energy island'
File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Work is due to begin by 2026, he added. 

The Danish parliament adopted in June a political environmental framework aimed at reducing the country's CO2 emissions by 70 percent by 2030, which included plans for the world's first “energy hubs” on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea and in the North Sea.

On Thursday, parliament went further by approving a plan to place the North Sea hub on an artificial island, with a wind power farm that will initially supply three gigawatts (GW) of electricity.

That could later be scaled up to 10 GW — enough for 10 million households — according to the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities.

The island is to be majority owned by the Danish government in partnership with private companies.

Its final size is yet to be decided but it is expected to cover between 120,000 to 460,000 square meters (about 1.3 to 5 million square feet), ministry spokesperson Emil Lee Madsen told AFP.

The total number of wind turbines has not been finalised either, but estimates range between 200 and 600 units at “a previously unseen scale,” with the tip of the blades reaching as high as 260 meters (850 feet) above the sea.

The project's next steps include environmental impact assessments and talks with potential investors, so construction is still some years off.

“At this point it seems like initial construction will actually begin around 2026, and hopefully it will be finished sometime between 2030 and 2033,” Lee Madsen said, noting that some delays were probable so closer to 2033 was more realistic.

At full capacity, the island would provide more wind power than Denmark needs for its population of 5.8 million.

Other countries could then plug into the hub to “increase the efficiency of the electricity production from the wind farms by distributing it across the European power grid,” the ministry said.

READ ALSO: Denmark proposes giant 1.3GW wind to jet fuel plant

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Denmark proposes giant 1.3GW wind to jet fuel plant

Six Danish companies have teamed up to build what could be the biggest electrolyser in the world outside Copenhagen, hoping to turn wind power from a new energy island in the Baltic into green jet fuel for Copenhagen airport.

Denmark proposes giant 1.3GW wind to jet fuel plant
The Horns Rev 2 wind park off Esbjerg. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
The wind power company Ørsted has teamed up with Copenhagen Airports, the airline SAS, the shipping companies A.P. Moller-Maersk and DFDS, and the logistics company DSV Panalpina, to develop the 1.3GW electrolyser. 
The plant, announced in a press release on Tuesday, should from 2030 be able to supply 250,000 tonnes of sustainable fuel annually for use in buses, trucks, ships and aircraft. This could potentially replace as mush as 30 percent of the fossil fuels used at Copenhagen airport. 
“It is a rare occurrence for Danish companies to come together in such a large consortium as this one,” Henrik Poulsen, Ørsted's chief executive, told the Berlingske newspaper. 
“This indicates that there is a big task that needs to be solved, and it will require considerable amounts of capital and innovation.” 
The partners aim to have the first phase of the hydrogen and e-fuel production facility up and running as early as 2023, when a 10MW electrolyser will produce renewable hydrogen to fuel buses and trucks.
It will then rely on the planned development of between 3GW and 5GW of wind power Ørsted hoped to develop around the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Poland. 
By 2027, the plant will be expanded to 250MW in time to receive the first deliveries of offshore wind power from the Bornholm project. Fuel from the plant will then be able to displace 5 percent of fossil fuels at Copenhagen Airport. 
By 2030, when the Bornholm project is expected to be fully developed, it will be expanded to 1.3GW. 
Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, said the plan would help his city meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025 (even though that goal does not include Copenhagen airport). 
“We're already well underway – with district heating, wind turbines, great biking infrastructure, zero emission buses, a green metro,” he said. “But we need new, sustainable technologies to go all the way. Sustainable fuels are an important means in the fight against climate change and air pollution. It brings us one step closer a greener future.”
Poulsen told Berlingske that Avedøre Holme and Amager south of Copenhagen were “the most obvious places” for the plant. 
“This is both in terms of carrying large amounts of electricity onshore and in relation to being able to ship fuels to other destinations. In addition, it is clear that Copenhagen Airport will be a major customer, and therefore it is an idea to place it close to the airport,” he said.