A new Greenpeace report has for the first time revealed how a regionally integrated approach to the large-scale development of offshore wind in the North Sea could deliver reliable clean energy for millions of homes.

The ‘North Sea Electricity Grid [R]evolution’ report calls for the creation of an offshore network to enable the smooth flow of electricity generated from renewable energy sources into the power systems of seven different countries: the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. An integrated grid would bolster the development of renewable energy and allow significant emission savings.

“The grid would enable the efficient large-scale integration of renewable energy in the power system across the whole North Sea region. A dip in wind power generation in one area could be ‘balanced’ by higher production in another area, even hundreds of kilometres away, providing clean power for millions of European homes,” said Frauke Thies, Greenpeace EU renewables policy campaigner.

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The cost of developing the grid is expected to be between €15 and 20 billion. This investment would not only allow the broad integration of renewable energy, but also unlock unprecedented power trading opportunities and cost-efficiency. In a recent example, a new 600 kilometre-long power line between Norway and the Netherlands cost €600 million to build, but is already allowing €800 000 a day in cross-border trade.

“Building a North Sea grid is not just a pipe dream; it’s common sense both environmentally and financially. Greenpeace calls on the Commission to deliver a strong EU Action Plan for offshore wind and to push for a coordinated approach to make this scenario a reality.” said Thies.

Greenpeace calls for a coordinated European approach for the development of offshore network capacity which includes strategic grid planning at EU and national level, priority grid connection and access for renewable energy, and a European investment framework to encourage investments in grids.

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