Today, 16 November 2023, the transmission system operators TenneT and Statnett signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the possibilities of a hybrid interconnector between Germany and Norway in the North Sea. With this connection, the two TSOs would not connect North Sea wind farms in one country, as is currently the case, but would connect it in parallel to Norway and Germany. A hybrid project could be beneficial for both countries, as the wind profiles of Germany and Norway complement each other very well. For example, when there is no wind in the German North Sea, wind energy can be imported from Norway - and vice versa. This would increase the security of supply for both countries.
Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of TenneT, says: “The MoU with Statnett is an important milestone for the cross-border offshore grid in the North Sea. Only by jointly exploiting the potential of the North Sea can we achieve an efficient and robust offshore grid in the future. Our successful cooperation on NorNed and NordLink has shown that TenneT and Statnett are the right partners to drive forward pioneering projects.”
The Norwegian Transmission System Operator, Statnett's investigation work also cover the entire North Sea region and include Denmark, the UK and Belgium as possible alternative connection points in addition to Germany. This investigation can serve as a basis for a hybrid interconnector as an alternative grid solution for the announcement of new offshore wind farms on the Norwegian shelf that are planned in 2025. Germany is an interesting partner because of its already well-developed offshore capacities.
TenneT is involved in the realisation of further hybrid interconnectors: TenneT is currently working with the UK's National Grid on the LionLink, a link between the UK and the Netherlands. At the same time, TenneT is investigating international connections between the Netherlands and Belgium and between Germany and the Netherlands. A future cooperation with Statnett would complete TenneT's portfolio in the North Sea and contribute to a European offshore grid.
However, Meyerjürgens warns that the European development of the North Sea still requires technical and legal specifications: "It is essential that the technical, regulatory and economic framework for a shared European offshore grid is quickly adapted. This is the only way to ensure that the first hybrid projects can be successfully commissioned in the 2030s.”
Energy from the North Sea has enormous potential and plays a crucial role in Europe's energy transition. The North Sea is expected to become Europe's largest energy supplier by 2050, providing 300 GW of green electricity. Statnett has therefore signed Memorandums of Understanding with other transmission system operators in addition to TenneT, including Elia, Energinet, Amprion and National Grid. The cooperation between TenneT and Statnett is an important step towards a sustainable and cross-border energy future between Germany and Norway. Further information and progress is expected as the investigations continue.
TenneT is a leading European grid operator. We are committed to providing a secure and reliable supply of electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, while helping to drive the energy transition in our pursuit of a brighter energy future – more sustainable, reliable and affordable than ever before. In our role as the first cross-border Transmission System Operator (TSO) we design, build, maintain and operate 25,000 kilometres of high-voltage electricity grid in the Netherlands and large parts of Germany, and facilitate the European energy market through our 17 interconnectors to neighbouring countries. We are one of the largest investors in national and international onshore and offshore electricity grids, with a turnover of EUR 9.8 billion and a total asset value of EUR 41 billion. Every day our 7,400 employees take ownership, show courage and make and maintain connections to ensure that the supply and demand of electricity is balanced for over 43 million people.
Lighting the way ahead together