Together with the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), the transmission system operators (TSOs) 50Hertz, Amprion and TenneT have presented initial plans for interconnection projects in the North Sea. Connection lines of offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 10 gigawatts are to be interconnected in the future. In addition to connecting the wind farms to the German power grid, the power lines will then also enable the exchange of electricity with neighboring European countries, such as Denmark and the Netherlands.
The hybrid interconnectors thus created will enable increased international electricity trading. In the process, supraregional trade increases German and European supply security and welfare. In addition, interconnection at sea leads to better utilization and more efficient use of power lines.
"The energy transition benefits extremely from increased interconnection with neighboring countries. With additional grid connections, more cost-effective electricity from renewable energies can be imported into Germany. At the same time, we will have to regulate less electricity. The plans presented today show how we will transform the energy system in close cooperation with our European neighbors. Wind energy at sea will play a decisive role in the climate-neutral energy system," explains Federal Minister Robert Habeck.
Study on the sustainability of power grids
In parallel with the planning, the BMWK commissioned a study to investigate the overall benefits of such an international power grid in the North Sea. The studies found that interconnection reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases security of supply, makes more efficient use of available space and saves considerable costs.
By interconnecting offshore wind farms, significantly more renewable electricity can be integrated into the pan-European system. This brings increased security of supply for Germany, as additional electricity can be imported from neighboring countries at times of high electricity demand. This also reduces the need for electricity from fossil-fuel power plants. The interconnection of offshore wind farms thus avoids greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector and also avoids high electricity prices in times of high electricity demand. When electricity demand is low and RE production in Germany is high, RE electricity can also be exported, avoiding curtailment of German wind farms.
The next step is to introduce the TSOs' plans for interconnecting offshore wind farms into official German and European planning processes. This will lay the foundation for an international offshore grid in the North Sea together with the TSOs of neighboring countries.