European nations agree on offshore North Sea electric grid


The core of the proposed North Sea grid

Ministers from 10 European countries bordering the North Sea have agreed the construction of a new offshore electricity grid.

The grid will link countries across Europe and make it much easier for member states to trade energy.

It will also simplify the exploitation of the 140 Gigawatt offshore windfarm currently being planned in the North Sea…

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the governments of the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

The new grid would be used to connect European grids to a large offshore windfarm currently in planning for the North Sea. The project is part of a concerted effort by the European Union to live up to its emissions targets and integrate the energy infrastructure.

One such cooperation is already in place. Norway and the Netherlands [.pdf] use so-called “high-voltage direct-current” links to pump energy back and forth between the two countries…

The North Sea grid is a highly ambitious project but could prove an important boost to countries whose location gives them an excess of solar or wind energy.

This project confounds so many aspects of political life in these United States, my friends and family will likely be discussing it most of the weekend. Why? Because it would be damned near impossible for us to accomplish the same thing – as useful as it would be.

Ten years would be wasted on dealing with all the nutballs, from NIMBYs to organizations with vested interests in religions which claim the spirits of the dead will be affronted by electricity passing through cables underwater.

Then you get to politicians owned by competing interests, e.g. Big Coal, the Oil Patch Boys, a significant chunk of Congress. Add in the civilian organizations that front for the coal and oil brigade like the teabaggers and bought-and-paid-for skeptics. Then, consider trying to get ten coastal states to agree on anything that might benefit all equally – instead of providing largesse to a couple which may be best connected [pun admitted] and therefore presume they always deserve the most from any endeavor…you have a convoy of greed and self-interest that could sink the biggest flotilla in World War 2.

Thanks, Tom, for the NordNed link

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