In 2020, nearly 30 years after the launch of the world’s first wind farm in Vindeby, Denmark decided to construct the world’s first energy islands. One will be placed in the North Sea as an artificial island and one in the Baltic Sea at the Danish island Bornholm. The energy island at Bornholm will have an offshore wind capacity of 2 GW while the island in the North Sea will have an initial capacity of 3 GW offshore wind but with the potential of expanding it to 10 GW in the longer run. Surrounding offshore windfarms will deliver the electricity to the islands from where it will be distributed into national and international electricity grids.
The islands will strengthen the integration of Europe’s power grids and increase renewable electricity production necessary for a climate neutral Europe. The energy islands hub-structure will serve as an offshore power plant gathering and distributing green electricity from hundreds of wind turbines surrounding the islands directly to consumers in countries surrounding the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
The energy island in the North Sea will be an artificially constructed island 80 kilometres from the shore of the peninsula Jutland. In the first phase, it will be able to provide three million European households with green energy and with the potential of expanding it to cover up to 10 million households in the longer run. The island is the largest construction project in the history of Denmark. The total cost of constructing the island, building an offshore wind capacity of 10 GW wind farms and deploying the necessary infrastructure will be around 210 billion DKK (34 billion USD).
In February 2021, a broad political agreement in the Danish Parliament has determined that the ownership model of the island in the North Sea will consist of a strong public-private partnership in order to create innovative and green solutions. Furthermore, it was decided that the energy island in the North Sea can include an innovation-zone with room for new technologies such as electricity storage and Power-to-X.
Studies of the sea beds surrounding the islands will be completed with the purpose of locating the most suitable places for construction and with the least impact of the environment
As the world moves towards an era of increased electrification, it is time to take further advantage of the massive wind resources especially located in the North Sea and export clean, green energy to the rest of Europe. The energy islands are a crucial element in the global green transition and in the national goal in Denmark of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.