Wednesday, 16 December 2009

European Investment Bank gives E300 million to offshore grid

Amid all the chaos and disappointment in Copenhagen, I thought I would mention a tiny bit of progress. Last week the European Investment Bank finally announced that they would be providing 300 million euros for an electricity connector between Britain and the Netherlands. This is seen as the first tentative step towards realising an offshore 'supergrid' of wind turbines stretching from the North Sea to the Bay of Biscay and the Baltic. Although it can be used to trade any electricity between the two countries, this is of vital importance to wind power, which flows variably across the region. The ability to trade power allows wind to be utilized more effectively.

Shortly after the E300 million announcement another couple of hundred million euros was announced by Commission for connectors between the UK and Norway, Shetland and the mainland and in the Baltic. New offshore wind farms should be able to plug into these systems, reducing a major expenses in offshore wind development.

This grid development, along with with Commission support for nine offshore wind farms, European Investment Bank loans and recent UK government moves to improve the payments for offshore wind, it looks like we might see some significant progress in this area in the next year or two. Some small comfort that something is happening perhaps.

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