Hybrid Projects: reducing costs and space for offshore developments

The study by Roland Berger GmbH, conducted on behalf of the European Commission, shows that the large offshore wind potential in the North Sea region has an estimated economic potential of more than 635 GW by 2030. To exploit this potential, wind farms must be built further out to sea. This makes development more complicated and more expensive. If viable projects are to be realized, it is crucial to reduce the costs and space needed by using innovative solutions that effectively connect wind farms to land. Hybrid projects offer such a solution.

Traditionally, offshore wind power projects only have power transmission lines that feed one national grid. Hybrid projects combine generation and transfer elements, link two or more countries and provide a platform for coordination between them. In the North Sea, for example, this could mean a joint development of an offshore wind farm and an interconnection, so that a Dutch wind farm can be connected to the British and Dutch networks.

Hybrid projects have a number of benefits:

  • Significant potential for cost savings.
  • Reduced need for space, thus leaving more space available for other uses of the sea and lowering the environmental impact.
  • Established cross-border links, which help you provide additional interconnection capacity and support the EU's internal energy market.
  • Benefits for the European offshore industry and the labor market.

The study identifies 18 potential hybrid projects, based on existing conventional projects in the North Sea that are in the early stages of development. Of the 18 potential hybrid projects, it has been found that five are more advantageous than their respective reference case. The five projects show potential cost savings from 300 million to 2500 million euros, depending on the size of the comparable conventional project. This corresponds to 5-10% of total project costs.

To achieve the realization of hybrid projects, four main recommendations can be summarized. These are based on project-specific assessments:

  • Implement HANSAs (Hybrid Asset Network Support Agreements) project-specific legal agreements that provide security for developers
  • Public funding to reduce the risk of pilot projects
  • Agree on rules for sharing costs and benefits fairly between countries and stakeholders
  • Expand the hybrid approach towards an integrated regional energy system (sector link)

Read the full report here

By Stig Kristian …