Denmark begins offshore zone search

DENMARK: The Danish energy ministry has launched an investigation into potential areas for the next three offshore wind projects by 2030, but the country's wind association has called for an expedited screening process.

The DEA has identified the areas it will investigate for the offshore wind tender

The move to begin the search for appropriate regions for offshore wind development followed the energy deal agreed over the summer.

Four areas in the North and Baltic Seas will be examined for offshore wind projects, all of which are at least 15km from the shore to limit the visual impact from the Danish coast.

The four areas consist of one in the North Sea off the country's west coast, one in Jammerbugt, one at Hesselø and one area at Kriegers Flak.

"Three of the areas are within the state space reservations for large offshore wind farms, which were designated in 2012," the energy ministry said.

A fourth area north of Hesselø had not previously been identified as an area for offshore wind farms. 

Under the terms of the agreement, three 800MW projects are due to be tendered before 2023.

Various conditions including wind resources, ocean currents, water depth, seabed, nature and environmental protection, plus onshore considerations, will be examined.

The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has contracted Danish consultancy firm Cowi to carry out the investigation.

"We need to find the best locations for future wind farms, and I have full confidence that the DEA [will] indicate several possible areas where wind potential and the other conditions... seem to be particularly good," said energy minister Lars Christian Lilleholt.

However, the Danish Wind Industry Association (DWIA) said time was of the essence in order to avoid "clumping" at the end of the decade.

"It is gratifying that the Danish Energy Agency is in the process of screening, and that there are four areas in play for the first offshore wind farm.

"It is important that this work is prioritised so the area or areas that are best suited can be identified as soon as possible ito initiate work on the supply itself," said Jan Hylleberg, managing director of the DWIA.

The DWIA said a decision on the first zone should be made by November to enable steady progress and "avoid all three wind farms clumping in the years up to 2030".

When the energy deal was announced in July, the first 800MW site was due to be offered in 2019/20 and expected to be online between 2024 and 2027.

Transmission looks set to be included in the tender cost — a change from previous Danish offshore tenders.

Additionally, DWIA said the first tender should only feature a single project area, as opposed to a multi-area model like the one seen in the 2016 nearshore round. Cowi will also research the best model.