IEA EGRD Workshop "Energy Islands - Developing Renewable Energy Hubs"

29. September 2020, 10:00 - 11:15 and 13:00 - 14:25 (CEST)

This series of webinars focused on the rationale and advantages of onshore, nearshore and offshore infrastructure projects, the technological, regulatory, environmental and economic challenges, the lessons learned so far and the unknowns to be addressed and solved.


The webinar had been organized under the auspices of the IEA Experts' Group on R&D Priority-setting and Evaluation (EGRD), hosted by the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities

Content Description

Onshore, nearshore or offshore seems to be one of the central choices governments face when preparing for large scale wind energy in the transformation of the energy system. Each siting comes with its pros and cons. As of today, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) of onshore wind power is more cost competitive than offshore wind but are also subject to increasing public resistance. Moving nearshore does not address this challenge, but are associated with lower installation and operation and maintenance costs compared to offshore.

However, offshore wind energy has proven to be a prosperous venue. Moving wind energy generation offshore took off just a few decades ago with the first ever offshore farm in Danish Vindeby in 1991. Throughout the 2000s, offshore wind continued to expand in Northern Europe, primarily in the North Sea, which offers near ideal conditions for energy generation with strong winds, average wind speeds over 8 meters per second and relatively shallow water depths. The globally installed offshore wind capacity reached nearly 30 GW by June 2020. The UK remains the world's largest offshore wind sector, with a cumulative capacity of 10.4 GW followed by Germany with 7.7 GW and China with 6.4 GW.

With ambitious national targets for a combination of renewable energy and CO2 emission cuts, countries face the challenge of how to effectively deploy and integrate large scale offshore wind energy in the energy system that can go beyond traditional flexibility measures and cross-border transmission lines. In 2019 a number of ambitious infrastructure projects coupling offshore wind energy to gas storage facilities and power-to-gas grids were presented. The international consortium partners of the North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) presented the prospects of wind power hubs in the North Sea, the so-called Hub-and-Spoke projects, combining wind power connection, coupling of energy markets through interconnection and smart integration in the onshore energy grid, including power-to-gas. Some of these projects are foreseen nearshore, others offshore, some plan with building an artificial island, combining the features of nearshore and offshore.

This series of webinars will focus on the rationale and advantages of these infrastructure projects, the technological, regulatory, environmental and economic challenges, the lessons learned so far and the unknowns to be addressed and solved. More specifically the webinars will provide insights in different renewable energy islands/hubs cases, the opportunities and challenges they pose for the transformation of the energy system and how they might be further facilitated.

Webinar 1: Renewable Energy Islands, 10:00-11:15 (CEST)

  • What are the rationale and concept of different energy islands
  • What are the main technological, regulatory, environmental and economic challenges of the island/hub?
  • What are the recommendations to accelerate the roll-out of such islands/hubs?

Webinar 2: Technologies and System Integration, 13:00-14:25 (CEST)

  • What are the knowledge gaps and gains in power-to-gas technologies and their integration in the system
  • Prospects of different electrolysis technologies
  • Their competitors – blue hydrogen (based on natural gas), batteries etc.
  • Models for the power-to-gas infrastructure (e.g. landing zone, on-site, distributed)