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Leaders from ten global companies gathered in London today to announce publicly the formation of the “Friends of the Supergrid” (FOSG) which has been set up to progress policy towards the construction of a pan-European Offshore Supergrid. Through the combination of their respective areas of expertise, the FOSG members have unique insight into the policies needed to create the Supergrid and have the capability to deliver it in practice.
The FOSG is the only representative body that combines companies in sectors that will deliver the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) infrastructure and related technology, together with companies that will develop, install, own and operate that infrastructure. It brings together the organisations that will design the physical equipment, with those who will build the structures at sea.
The founding members include 3E, AREVA T&D, DEME Blue Energy, Elia, Hochtief Construction AG, Mainstream Renewable Power, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Prysmian Cables & Systems, Siemens and Visser & Smit Marine Contracting.
Speaking at the launch on behalf of the members, Mainstream Renewable Power’s Chief Executive Dr Eddie O’Connor said,” The UK government has recently shown its commitment to large-scale offshore wind by announcing the development of up to 50GW by 2020. We now need to integrate this huge resource into Europe to enable the open trade of electricity between Member States. The Friends of the Supergrid is uniquely placed to influence policy-makers towards creating the Supergrid and ultimately changing how we generate, transmit and consume electricity for generations to come.”
In December last year, nine EU Member States, including the UK and Germany, signed a political declaration for the “North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative”. Last month Norway signed the declaration, whose aim is to develop policy to advance offshore interconnection in Europe. The FOSG is solely able to present “cradle to grave” interconnection solutions to the policy-makers and others looking to develop energy policy across Europe through to 2050.
FOSG will be run by an Executive and directed by the Board of members. Membership will be kept to a maximum of 20 companies and aims to have both an industrial and geographic cross-section, with its base in Brussels. The concept of the Supergrid was first launched a decade ago and it is defined as “an electricity transmission system, mainly based on direct current, designed to facilitate large-scale sustainable power generation in remote areas for transmission to centres of consumption, one of whose fundamental attributes will be the enhancement of the market in electricity”.
The Supergrid will open markets, strengthen security of supply and create another global opportunity for European companies to export sustainable energy technology. The technology underpinning the Supergrid will give competitive advantage to the companies involved with its specification and design. This type of integrated AC/DC grid will be a template for what will be needed in other global markets including the US and China.