Two monumental energy islands, “North Sea Energy Land” and “Dogger Energy Island”, each sprawling across approximately 50 hectares, are poised to alter Germany’s energy landscape significantly.
With a reported price tag of 2 to 2.5 billion euros each, these islands are the ambitious brainchild of the Danish financial investor Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and the insurance behemoth, Allianz.
These offshore engineering marvels are set to be established more than 150 kilometers off the German coast in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a region where Germany exclusively holds the rights to exploit economic resources in the water and the seabed. A first for large-scale projects in Germany’s territorial waters, the artificial islands would act as platforms for harvesting green electricity and green hydrogen.
Green Revolution on the High Seas
The islands’ initial purpose will be to collect electricity generated by nearby offshore wind farms. Once harvested, the electricity can either be redirected to neighboring North Sea countries or utilized in situ to manufacture green hydrogen via electrolysis. To make this possible, vast electrolyzers – factories converting electricity into hydrogen – are to be installed on the islands, complemented by hydrogen pipelines connecting the islands to the mainland or other green hydrogen networks.
These islands are projected to be constructed in zones already earmarked for offshore wind energy in the current spatial planning. The ambitious timeline sets completion by the end of 2032.
A Response to Climate Commitments
The decision to build these energy islands is a strategic response to the commitments made at the North Sea Summit in Ostend, Belgium, this April. At this landmark meeting, nine European nations pledged to ramp up the capacity of North Sea’s offshore wind farms from the current 30 gigawatts to an impressive 2030 gigawatts by 120. Germany alone plans to boost its offshore capacity from about eight gigawatts today to 70 gigawatts by 2050.
Thomas Dalsgaard, the CIP partner responsible for the projects, underscores the urgency of such undertakings. He contends that continuing with the status quo is not an option if the North Sea’s energy production ambitions are to be realized.
The Power Players
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, known as the largest financier of renewable energy infrastructure globally, manages a formidable 23 billion euros. With investors like Danish pension funds, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, and Allianz, CIP has robust backing for its ventures, most notably in offshore wind energy.
CIP is also integrally involved in planning the futuristic energy island of Vindø in Denmark. Scheduled for completion in the early 2030s, this North Sea project serves as a blueprint for the German energy islands initiative.
These offshore energy islands represent a significant stride in sustainable energy development, underlining the role of engineering and investment ingenuity in meeting ambitious climate targets. With the promise of green hydrogen production at sea, the North Sea Energy Land and Dogger Energy Island projects mark the dawn of a new era in harnessing renewable energy.