A project to build a large artificial island to provide energy for three million households has received the green light from Danish politicians.
The project also aims to reduce dependence on Russian gas.
The government of the Scandinavian country announced last week that it will accelerate the construction of a project that was first launched in 2020 under the name “energy island.”
The world’s first energy island is about 18 football fields or about 120,000 square meters in area, and is estimated to be three times that size.
The island will act as a hub for 200 offshore wind turbines.
The largest project in Denmark’s history, it is worth around 210 billion kroner ($34 billion). Located about 80 kilometers from the mainland, the island will be owned half by the government and half by private parties.
Energy that is directed not only to Denmark but also to neighboring countries.
It is not yet clear which countries will benefit, but Professor Jacob Ostergaard from the Technical University of Denmark told the BBC that the UK, Germany and the Netherlands could benefit from electricity from the energy island.
Green hydrogen will also be available for the shipping, aerospace and transportation industries.
Under the climate law, Denmark has committed to a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and will phase out CO2 by 2050. Last December, the Danish government announced the end of new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.
Ostergaard told the BBC it was a “huge project”.
“This is another big step forward for the Danish wind turbine industry. We did well on land, we have taken steps offshore, and now we are building energy islands. All this puts Denmark ahead,” said Ostergaard.
The project was scheduled to be completed by 2030, but following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the Danish government announced that it would accelerate it as an alternative energy source for Europe to replace gas and oil supplies from Russia.
“Denmark and Europe need to get off Russian oil as soon as possible,” Danish Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jorgensen said.
He asserted that energy islands of this type were a “green way” to cut off the sources of money that Vladimir Putin used to wage war.
According to him, the North Sea has wind potential that can be converted into energy for millions of households in Europe.
“This offshore wind potential must be used and therefore the Danish government is preparing other energy islands,” Jorgensen said.
According to official statistics, about 49% of the total energy that Denmark produces comes from wind.
Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency estimates that around 16% of Denmark’s energy needs depend on supplies from Russia. In 2016, the figure was around 34%.
Denmark has long used wind from the sea to generate electricity.
Clean energy group Dansk Energi said it doubted whether an energy island in the North Sea could be operational by 2033 as planned.
But politicians in all parties support the government’s plan.
The former energy minister, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, of the Social Liberal Party, described it as a “hard plan” but it will come true.
Another energy island, smaller in size, Bornholm, is planned to be built in the Baltic Sea, east of Denmark.
An agreement has been reached that the energy from this island will be used to supply the needs in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Last November, the European Union announced plans to increase energy capacity from offshore wind up to 25 times by 2050.
Renewable energy supplies a third of the EU’s electricity needs:
- According to the European Union, the supply of offshore wind is up to 12 gigawatts
- Denmark offers 1.7 gigawatts
- The new island will supply 3 gigawatts, and will expand to 10 gigawatts
- The power island of Bornholm will supply 2 gigawatts.
As for the location of the new energy island, there has been no official information, but it is estimated to be in the North Sea, about 80 km from the mainland.
Danish television said last year the Danish Energy Agency had marked two sites on the west coast of Jutland and that both were in water between 26 and 27 meters deep.
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