Sustainable Energy

A vast 'wind power hub' could supply 70 to 100 million people with renewable energy

In the coming years, Europe could be home to a vast wind power hub
In the coming years, Europe could be home to a vast wind power hub

When it comes to wind energy Denmark is a major player, able to call on a wealth of expertise and experience. Only this week, for example, Denmark headquartered Dong Energy was awarded the contract to build the world's largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea Project Two, off the coast of the U.K.

More than one third of Danish electricity production comes from turbines, according to the Danish Energy Agency. Danish transmission system operator (TSO) Energinet owns, operates and develops the country's transmission systems for electricity and natural gas. The country's reliance on wind energy poses its own unique set of challenges.

"Large scale wind means that sometimes we have more... wind (than) we can use in the country, and… (so) we will start to export it to neighboring countries," Peder Andreasen, CEO of Energinet, told CNBC's Sustainable Energy. The use of "interconnectors" is crucial when it comes to this.

Andreasen described the big cables as "critically important for the electricity grid" by connecting regions and countries with one another, enabling the trade of energy over borders.

"When we have too much energy we just export and when we need the energy we reverse the flow so the countries are able, with good interconnectors, to back each other up," he added.

This spirit of collaboration is now seeing grand plans for a vast wind power installation take shape. The wheels are in motion for what has been described as "the energy sector's Apollo moon landing."

In March of this year Energinet, along with TSOs from the Netherlands and Germany, signed a trilateral agreement relating to the development of a vast renewable electricity system, involving artificial islands, in the middle of the North Sea.

The scale of the proposed project is huge. If fully realised, the North Sea Wind Power Hub could, according to those involved in the project, supply 70 to 100 million Europeans with renewable energy by 2050.

"The genius about the artificial island is that you could set up a lot of wind turbines, offshore, out of sight, but still use near shore technologies which are cheaper," Energinet's Hanne Storm Edlefsen told CNBC's Sustainable Energy. This would help to lower the price of the "green transition", Storm Edlefsen added.

The artificial island and interconnectors could act as a spider web, she explained, making it possible to send energy to different countries where it is needed, getting better prices in the process. "This is why we call the North Sea Wind Power Hub the energy sector's Apollo moon landing – it's a very ambitious project."