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Linking Britain's off-shore wind projects could cut infrastructure costs in half, streamline path toward carbon cuts

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Christopher Neely's picture
Independent Local News Organization

Journalist for nearly a decade with keen interest in local energy policies for cities and national efforts to facilitate a renewable revolution. 

  • Member since 2017
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  • Dec 22, 2020
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In the world of offshore wind, the U.K. is leading the way and has already banked most of its ability to significantly cut carbon emissions by 2050 on its offshore wind efforts. 

However, leading in this way has left Britain with a complex web of offshore wind projects, each individually connected to the grid on land. This obviously has its benefits and issues. Among those issues is this, what some call outdated, process of connecting offshore projects to land. It's frustrated island communities who feel disrupted by the transmission cables as well as the region's budget. New ideas are on the horizon, however, that could leave this inefficient process in the past and influence how other countries address offshore wind development. 

According to Bloomberg, executives from National Grid, a major utility company operating in the U.K. met last week to discuss how to better connect these projects, which are rapidly increasing. There is talk about connecting multiple offshore projects together through offshore transmission lines, essentially lassoing currently independent projects and connecting them back to the mainland grid with a single line installment. 

According to National Grid, such a project could cut infrastructure needs in half and save the U.K. billions of dollars. Of course, this would take building transmission cables that could handle a greater capacity. It would also take right-sizing the electricity grid to handle the rapidly growing offshore renewable capacity. This is a problem not many nations are facing as their offshore capacity has been slow to get off the ground. The U.K. will have a chance to lead on this and provide a best practices for the world on what is sure to be a burgeoning offshore wind industry in the next decade. 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 22, 2020

A key demonstration where efficiency, system optimization, and coordination will make the sum of these projects more powerful than their individual parts!

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