Nine countries including the UK have signed up to develop an integrated offshore power grid in the North Sea and the Irish Sea.
Energy and climate change minister Lord Hunt signed the agreement along with ministers from Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland. A grid spanning European waters should make electricity supplies more secure for participating countries.
It is hoped it will make it easier to optimise offshore wind electricity production. The grid is also expected to help the European Union meet its renewable energy targets by 2020.
“These announcements bring new funding and expert direction to grow this vital new industry,” said Hunt.
“These announcements bring new funding and expert direction to grow this vital new industry.”
Energy and climate change minister Lord Hunt
He also announced the next round of low carbon energy capital grants for demonstration projects. These total £5M and will go to manufactures Vestas, Clipper and Mitsubishi.
He has also appointed professor Bernard Bulkin as the expert chair of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s Office for Renewable Energy Deployment. Energy regulator Ofgem has also set aside £500M to develop smart grid systems − essential to integrate renewable energy and microgeneration schemes.
The move, as part of its final price determinations for the UK’s 14 Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) for 2010-2015, will see the cash used to fund research into smart grids.
These are intended to allow renewable and micro-generation sources to link across the network and link to the supergrid.