Offshore networking is the future

Dortmund-based transmission system operator Amprion presents Eurobar – a concept for networking offshore wind farms across Europe. The aim of Eurobar is to integrate offshore power into the European power grid so that it makes the best possible contribution to climate objectives in Germany and Europe. Eurobar is modular and can be implemented autonomously by international partners.

The nations bordering the North Sea are planning to develop an offshore potential of around 200 GW by 2050. Amprion has put forward Eurobar (European Offshore Busbar) in order to utilise offshore wind energy efficiently throughout Europe. The concept proposes that the new generation of offshore platforms in the North Sea should be designed from the planning stage to be connected to an offshore network. They can then be connected up to each other step by step at a later stage – initially at a national level, and then between North Sea neighbours. By networking, wind energy can be transported flexibly across borders to wherever it is needed. This will reduce the need for additional grid development on land.

Thinking about the integration of future offshore power today

“If we want to have a climate-neutral energy system by 2050, we have to begin to develop it today,” explains Dr Hans-Jürgen Brick, CEO of Amprion. “The trans-European integration of offshore wind power will play a special role – and we have to get to grips with it quickly.” That is because technical facilities in the energy industry require an average planning and construction time of ten years. But then they remain operative for many more years, adds Brick. “Eurobar aims to make a constructive contribution to European plans for offshore development,” he says.

Utilizing the benefits of integrated power grids

“On land, we’ve been using the benefits of an interlinked power network for many decades,” explains Dr Klaus Kleinekorte, CTO at Amprion. Amprion intends to translate this integration concept to the offshore network with Eurobar. “The idea is a seamless extension of our network concept on land, and a continuation thereof,” says Kleinekorte. The overriding aim is to develop an overall system for onshore and offshore energy. This can also be connected to other sectors, such as using power-to-gas technology. A key to networking offshore wind farms, according to Kleinekorte, is in standardising offshore platforms and their connection systems. “Eurobar will intensify European collaboration in offshore development,” says Kleinekorte.

Driving standardisation together

“Eurobar is designed as a partnership,” explains Amprion CFO Peter Rüth. It can be implemented autonomously by international partners, whether states or network operators. The only condition required for networking, he says, is the use of the technical standards that need to be developed and applied before future offshore platforms are built. “We will now be working together with our partners in industry and among network operators on resolving the technical issues and advocating standardisation on a European level,” says Rüth.

Thomas Wiede
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Thomas Wiede
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