Dutch grid operator to invest €25 billion in North Sea wind energy


Dutch electricity grid operator TenneT plans to invest 25 billion euros into green energy infrastructure on land and sea over the next decade, the company announced with its annual results on Wednesday. One of the company's plans is building one or more artificial islands on the North Sea to be the connection between the mainland and thousands of wind turbines far offshore, ANP reports.

Later this month TenneT will sign a cooperation agreement with the Danish energy company Energinet to work on this project. Discussions with other possible partners are still ongoing. The Dutch company hopes to create a consortium for the establishment of a large electricity node in the middle of the North Sea, hopefully around 2050. 

"This project can greatly contribute to a sustainable electricity supply in Northwest Europe", TenneT CEO Mel Kroon said on Wednesday, ANP reports. The Dutch company has experience with constructing "sockets" at sea, though up until now they were more similar to drilling rigs than to islands.

In the coming decade TenneT will invest in the Netherlands in maintaining the existing network and extending it in order transport larger and less predictable flows of electricity. In Germany the company needs to invest in new or upgraded power lines because of the booming production of renewable energy. This expansion must ultimately ensure a reliable supply of renewable energy "in Europe and in TenneT's supply areas in particular". 

Last year TenneT's turnover remained basically stable at 3.2 billion euros. Operating profits fell more than a fifth to 834 million euros. This is partly due to higher costs.