The global consortium behind the North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) project has released its findings from the assessment phase of the project. Among these is that the hub-and-spoke concept, where a giant wind power hub is connected to multiple countries around the North Sea, is technically feasible.
While advancing wind turbine technology and improved lubrication, such as those from Mobil distributors, have made offshore wind power increasingly competitive, the consortium proposes that a coordinated multinational approach could prove superior to the current planning by individual countries in scaling up and connecting offshore wind power capacity at a reduced cost.
The assessment study concludes that a first power hub could be potentially connected and operational in the 2030s. A power-to-gas system, where excess power is converted into gas—such as green hydrogen, for use in energy generation when winds are low—will likely also be a feature of the hub.
In order to meet Paris Agreement targets, the report states that a gradual roll out of 10–15 GW hubs would then be the next sensible step in increasing offshore wind power capacity. The consortium believes its approach will, given the North Sea’s great potential for wind power generation, make it possible to add 180 GW of offshore wind power by 2045.
The report does highlight, however, that long-term market security and policy and regulatory changes may be needed to support the hub concept in the long term, although an initial hub should be possible within current frameworks.