The idea of an offshore wind grid spanning European waters should make supplies of electricity more secure for the participating countries by making it easier to optimise offshore wind electricity production . It will also help the EU as a whole to meet its renewable energy target for 2020, according to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
In the margins of the Energy Council meeting in Brussels, UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt signed the agreement, The North Seas Countries’ Offshore Grid Initiative, along with ministers from Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland.
The intention is to prepare at working level a strategic work plan in early 2010 with the aim of coordinating offshore wind infrastructure development. This would be enshrined in a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed later in 2010.
Lord Hunt has also announced the next round of Low Carbon Energy demonstration capital grants for Vestas, Clipper and Mitsubishi, and also the appointment of Professor Bernard Bulkin as the expert chair of DECC’s Office for Renewable Energy Deployment (ORED).
Vestas will receive £1.75 million from the Government and a further £1.75m from the South East England Development Agency, in addition to £6m already awarded.
Vestas has said that with the award of their grant they will be going ahead with their R&D wind power facility on the Isle of Wight.