NSWPH Predicts Offshore Wind Hub Expansion

Hub-and-Spoke Model Towards Meeting Climate Goals

Large scale offshore wind power is forecast to play a “major part” in meeting global climate goals, according to the latest research from industry association North Sea Wind Power Hub Consortium.

The findings stem from preliminary testing of the consortium’s hub-and-spoke concept which have confirmed technical and economic feasibility and suggest that offshore "energy islands" may become a reality, sparking wide-ranging project cargo requirements.  

“Over the past months, the consortium has been analyzing the possibility and conditions required to build one or several wind power hubs in the North Sea [and these] investigations serve answers to meet Paris Agreement climate goals on time and respond to current energy and climate agreements,” a spokesperson for the NSWPH said.

Hub-and-spoke Rollout

One of the key findings of this latest research has been an evidence base for greater investment in offshore hubs, driving demand for breakbulk activity in the sector. As part of this the NWSPH envisages a gradual roll-out of 10 to 15 gigawatts hubs as “the next logical step” towards a large scale offshore wind build-out.

The association also predicts that the first hub-and-spoke project will likely be electrically connected to shore and backed up with additional power-to-gas systems and could be operational in the 2030s.

“While it is likely possible to build a first hub-and-spoke project within the current regulatory framework and market design, i.e. current EU and national legislation, significant changes are required in national practices, approaches, planning and policies in order to allow for integrated infrastructure projects such as the modular hub concept being part of the long term energy transition,” the NWSPH authors note.

Wide-ranging Data Gathering

To gather the necessary data for this study, the NSWPH conducted a wide range of surveys, investigated several different scenarios and conducted intense engagements with policymakers, leading offshore wind farm developers and non-governmental organizations.

The result of these efforts suggest that large scale rollout of offshore wind is crucial to meet “Paris targets,” with the North Sea seen as a prime location to develop 180 gigawatts offshore wind by 2045.

“An international coordinated approach could connect and integrate large scale offshore wind more effectively and with significant lower costs compared to a continued individual national planning,” the NWSPH added.

The NSWPH is an international consortium consisting of TenneT, Energinet, Gasunie and Port of Rotterdam.