The National Grid has announced it has begun talks with two firms about the creation of what it’s calling an ‘energy island’ off the coast of the UK in the North Sea.
The initial concept itself was formed a number of years ago, but this is the first time official talks about development have taken place. If the plans are realised, then a new artificial island surrounded by large-scale wind farms would be built. These farms would have more capacity for producing renewables than those we currently have inland and offshore.
The island would use underwater electricity cables that connect to both the UK and Europe to distribute clean energy to millions of homes and businesses. The National Grid also claims this could be ready as soon as 2030, if the project gets the green light.
Following Denmark’s example
As innovative as the island sounds, it won’t be the first of its kind. Earlier this year, the Danish government announced it would be investing the equivalent of £25bn to support the production of an offshore energy hub, which will also be in the North Sea off Denmark's west coast.
The hub also has the potential to create up to 12GW of renewables, which would be more than the country’s existing energy demand. As such, when at full capacity, Denmark could be self-sustained with its power and in a strong position to sell and send its surplus supplies around the European continent.
The island could also be used for other renewables
While the promise of all this is certainly an exciting prospect, the National Grid also claims there are opportunities for the ‘energy island’ to be a location for creating and storing other renewables.
This is according to Nicola Medalova, Managing Director of Interconnectors at National Grid, who explained: “You put lots of different technologies, perhaps in one space – you could have wind, hydrogen, battery storage, all the rest of it, and that can be connected to one country, two countries.”
She added how the National Grid was also speaking with Denmark and other nations about their plans with similar projects, which suggests there’s an intention to both work with these countries and forge future energy trade connections:
"There are now a number of energy island concepts being promoted by different parties in countries such as in Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands, and we’re in conversations with them all to understand the concepts out there."
The future benefits for consumers
During the current energy crisis with record high gas prices and increasing energy bills – and where even running an energy comparison and switching supplier isn’t advised due to the best energy deal available being the current price cap – the possibility of having an excess of clean renewable energy is certainly a welcome one.
Should the project be realised on time, and be as prolific with its forecasted green energy generation, we would see the end of our current energy woes and the consumptions costs of a typical household would be much lower.
What’s more, it would of course be much better for the environment and would see us on the way to meeting the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent proposal to get ‘complete clean energy production by 2035’.
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Rich is a freelance copywriter and content strategist with over 10 years' experience. His career has seen him work in-house and in various agencies, producing online and offline content marketing campaigns and copywriting for clients in the energy industry.