€400bn needed for offshore grids by 2050, network operators say

(EurActiv, 23 Jan 2024) Europe’s first-ever Offshore Network Development Plan, published on Tuesday (23 January), highlights the huge investment needed to connect offshore wind farms to final consumers, with an estimated 54,000 kilometres of transmission assets expected to be built in European waters by 2050 – almost 1.5 times the equator’s length.

The European Commission has set an aspirational target of building at least 60 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050 as part of its 2020 offshore renewable energy plan.

Those targets are exceeded in the first-ever Offshore Network Development Plan published today by ENTSO-E, the association of European transmission system operators who are running the electricity grids in each country.

According to national data compiled by ENTSO-E, EU countries have up to 354 GW of offshore renewables in the project pipeline by 2050, a figure that goes up to 496 GW when adding Norway and the United Kingdom.

But connecting those offshore wind farms to final consumers will not be cheap, the report warns.

“A total investment of upward of €400 billion will be needed for the offshore transmission assets,” ENTSO-E estimates, saying the infrastructure needed to connect those “might cover up to 54,000 km of routes in European waters, equal to almost 1.5 times the length of the equator”.

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EurActiv, 23 Jan 2024: €400bn needed for offshore grids by 2050, network operators say