Danish energy firm Ørsted and investor ATP have inked a deal with digital infrastructure firm GlobalConnect to turn Denmark’s planned artificial island into a “smart energy island”, pairing an offshore wind power hub with a digital grid centre.
Ørsted and ATP want their planned North Sea Energy Island (NSEI) to be “a future-proof and innovative piece of Danish infrastructure at the centre of the world’s largest offshore network of green energy”, they explained.
The partners envisage NSEI becoming not just a green energy hub, but also a cross-border digital hub, at the centre of a grid transporting data between North Sea countries, with plans to include data centres.
“A smart North Sea Energy Island offers a natural intersection for this grid, while also being a reliable source of renewable energy to power the digitisation,” they added.
The partners explained that their smart energy island concept can help northern Europe “meet the ever-growing demand for massive data volumes” and make the region more attractive to the world’s largest technology companies.
Denmark intends for NSEI to be built 80km off the coast of Jutland, and to handle power from nearby offshore wind farms. It is planned to initially handle output from 3GW of offshore wind capacity, but this will be expanded to 10GW by 2040. The island will help to supply power and green fuels to consumers in states bordering the North Sea.
A tender is due to open in 2023, with Ørsted and ATP teaming up with construction firms to launch a bid, based on a modular design. Start-up is currently envisaged in 2033.
Ørsted and ATP hopet their alliance with GlobalConnect will put Denmark at the centre of two long-term growth industries — green energy and digital infrastructure — as demand for renewable energy grows at the same time as data demands rise, with ever more devices being linked to the internet.
Ørsted’s head of continental Europe Rasmus Errboe said: “The North Sea Energy Island offers Denmark a unique opportunity to become a hub for the key technologies of tomorrow, and thereby attract significant investments within both renewable energy and digitalisation.”
GlobalConnect CEO Martin Lippert said the alliance will develop “a smart energy island with a resilient and secure network that paves the way for the digital future of offshore wind while providing a unique attraction to global tech giants”.