Cooperation to boost North and Irish Sea RE potential

Illustration (Photo: flickr/Gary Denham)

The best way to tap into the renewable energy potential of the North Sea and the Irish Sea is for EU countries bordering these seas to work together, a study finds.

The consortium composed by PwC, Tractebel Engineering and Ecofys has been commissioned by the European Commission to undertake a study on regulatory matters concerning the development of the North Sea and Irish Sea offshore energy potential.

The study presents a detailed analysis of the national and European regulatory frameworks in the countries of the North and Irish Sea region.

Based on this analysis, the study identified a list of 15 potential barriers, which might hinder the development of the North and Irish Seas energy system, focusing on offshore RES and grid development in an international context.

Each barrier was explained in detail using information from stakeholder interviews, case studies and an extensive literature review.

Subsequently, the negative impact of the barriers was evaluated on a qualitative scale to assess how large a hindrance related to each barrier is likely to be.

The study also defines a toolkit of nine measures, which are designed to tackle the main barriers identified through the regulatory analysis and to enhance the coordinated development of the offshore grid energy potential.

The study highlighted three key success factors for the development of a meshed off-shore grid in the Northern and Irish Sea:

  1. Strong political commitment of all parties is a fundamental precondition to ensure the feasibility of complex projects and the most suitable outcome for all parties involved in the regional energy system
  2. Common policy driver is necessary to incentivise the coordination among the market players and align individual objectives, in order to stimulate the cross-border exchange of power among the countries in the region
  3. Clear allocation of the main responsibilities about the financing, construction and operation activities of the offshore grid system.

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