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UK revives North Sea Energy Cooperation engagement post-Brexit


MOU to collaborate on wind, grids signed

Efficiencies sought to meet 2030 targets

Ofgem studies Belgian, Dutch hybrid links

  • Author
  • Henry Edwardes-Evans
  • Editor
  • Jonathan Fox
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Energy Transition

The UK has signed a memorandum of understanding with existing members of the North Sea Energy Cooperation group, signaling a resumption in UK-EU collaboration in offshore energy and grid infrastructure, the UK's Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said Dec. 18.

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The NSEC was formed by 10 European nations in 2016 to drive efficiencies in offshore wind and interconnection. The UK quit the group in January 2020 after leaving the EU.

Now the UK has signed a new MOU with NSEC members Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the European Commission.

The MOU "fulfils commitments in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), enabling the UK to work with NSEC members to develop renewables projects in the North Seas -- specifically projects linking electricity interconnectors and windfarms," the BEIS said.

"I'm pleased to agree even greater energy cooperation with our North Seas neighbors, which will be vital in helping the UK meet its ambitious renewables target, including increasing offshore wind fivefold to 50 GW by 2030," said UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Graham Stuart.

The EU aims to install at least 60 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050.

In detail, the members are to cooperate on: hybrid and joint projects; maritime spatial planning; a support framework and finance; best practice in grid planning; new technologies; and best practice in rules, regulations and technical standards.

On Dec. 15 UK energy regulator Ofgem prioritized two multi-purpose interconnector pilot projects to Belgium and the Netherlands for further study.

The Nautilus (1.4 GW) and Eurolink (1.8 GW) projects will serve both as power interconnectors and offshore wind connectors.

Further study of two similar projects to Norway was on hold until Spring 2023 while Norway considered their viability, Ofgem said.

Platts assessed the UK offshore wind capture price at GBP394.69/MWh ($432.52/MWh) Dec. 13, down from Dec. 12's all-time high of GBP565.88/MWh, S&P Global Commodity Insights data showed.