The UK minister for energy and climate, Graham Stuart, has signed a “landmark agreement” with the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) setting out the framework for closer cooperation in the development of offshore renewables, including offshore grids in the North Seas.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will allow the UK to work alongside members of the NSEC to develop renewable energy projects in the North Sea, with a specific focus on windfarms and electricity interconnectors.
Countries that already share electricity with the UK via high-voltage direct current interconnectors, such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands, are included in the agreement.
Research by the National Grid ESO showed that building a well-integrated grid to link with offshore wind farms could give consumers savings of up to £3 billion.
The MoU aims to facilitate further interconnections, and also involves: Denmark; Germany; Ireland; Norway; Sweden; Luxemburg; and the European Commission.
It is hoped it will bolster the UK’s offshore wind portfolio to 50GW, as well as supporting the nation in increasing its interconnector capacity by 8.4GW to reach 18GW by 2030.
“I’m pleased to agree even greater energy cooperation with our North Seas neighbours, which will be vital in helping the UK meet it ambitious renewables target, including increasing offshore wind fivefold to 50GW by 2030” said Stuart in response to the agreement.
“The development of renewables in the North Seas is critical for accelerating our clean transition and boosting energy security for the UK and our European neighbours.”
The agreement is in keeping with public opinion as shown in the latest polling from the Public Attitudes Tracker, which found that 85% of people in the UK supported the development of offshore wind.