The Port of Rønne in Denmark has announced a new study investigating the possibility of using renewable energy from a so-called Bornholm Energy Island in the Baltic Sea. In this way, Russian gas will be replaced by joint German-Danish offshore wind hub.
To strengthen energy security in Europe, Northern European countries are discussing plans, but the ambitious proposal faces financing and regulatory challenges. According to German and Danish governments, A 9 billion-euro ($9 billion) offshore wind power hub in the Baltic Sea will mark a significant step in the process of weaning Europe off its reliance on Russian gas.
Related: The Danish Energy Island
As a starting point, the parties will examine a number of aspects of Power-to-X production from manufacturing and economics to possibilities for connection of electrical systems and district heating systems on Bornholm and across the Baltic Sea.
“The more interdependent we become in Europe, the more independent we will become from Russia,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters during a visit in May to the Danish port of Esbjerg.
The so-called Bornholm Energy Island will link several wind parks and distribute the energy they produce between the two countries. The project will have capacity of more than 3 gigawatts — enough power for as many as 4.5 million households – after it begins operation in 2030.
Production of Power-to-X green fuels is a completely new type of industry that has not been previously studied on Bornholm. Therefore, part of the study will focus on investigating where on the island a plant and warehouse could be constructed.
“We all know green power generation is great. But if you really want to use it, you need a grid and there, we have to step up,” said von der Leyen.
“It’s the first time in Europe that two countries cooperate on such a project,” German Energy Minister Robert Habeck said in a phone interview with Bloomberg.
The Power-to-X survey is expected to be completed within a year and will culminate in a business case. It’s, however, unclear how huge amounts of green power can be exchanged across borders without overloading already strained onshore grids or creating a spaghetti bowl of cables on the seabed.
The Power-to-X study is a natural extension of the work on the Bornholm Bunker Hub and as such will investigate how large amounts of green fuel can be sold on Bornholm and whether some fuels can be sold for heavy land transport and industry on the island.
“There are also talks with Norway, the Netherlands and Germany about future projects,” said Hanne Storm Edlefsen, who is in charge of developing energy islands at Energinet.
The Energy Island, located on the island of Bornholm, some 15 kilometers offshore, will connect Germany and Denmark to an offshore hub with around 2 GW of offshore wind power capacity and will need 3 billion euros of investment for infrastructure and 6 billion euros for the offshore wind park, according to the Danish government.
“What is completely new is that we see the build-out of renewables as something which is done best jointly,” Danish Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jorgensen told Reuters.
The German network operator 50Hertz and its Danish counterpart Energinet, which will build the energy hub and the connection to the mainland, will share both the costs and profits of the project.
Denmark approved the development of the Baltic Sea and North Sea energy islands back in June 2020, and Energinet was given the task of conducting feasibility studies for both projects.
The European Commission aims to increase Europe’s offshore wind capacity from its current level of 12 gigawatts to 300 gigawatts by 2050.
Russian Gas Will be Replaced by Joint German-Danish Offshore Wind Hub, written by Tor Kjolberg