General – Memorandum of Agreement
On the first day of WindEurope in Copenhagen Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities Dan Jørgensen and the Belgian Minister of Energy Tinne van der Straeten, signed a formal political Memorandum of Agreement to establish a connection between the countries including the Danish energy island in the North Sea.
Belgium and Denmark have signed the agreement to strengthen cooperation and realise a hybrid interconnection – to be called Triton Link – and share each other’s wind energy.
At the same time the Elia Group from Belgium and Denmark’s transmission system operator Energinet have signed two co-operation agreements related to offshore wind developments in northern Europe.
One between Energinet and Elia should advance an interconnector between the Danish energy island in the North Sea and Belgium.
The other, between Energinet and 50Hertz, will advance a program to connect the Danish energy island Bornholm in the Baltic Sea with the market in Germany much closer to realization.
All parties will collaborate on the initiation of feasibility studies and the preparation of business cases to support national approvals in Belgium, Germany, and Denmark.
Chris Peeters, CEO of Elia Group, said: “The realization of the Belgian-Danish cable is an important next step in making our electricity system more sustainable. Thanks to the hybrid technology, we will have direct access to large wind farms in the far northern North Sea with different climatic conditions. This will provide greater security of supply and help our energy-intensive industry to further decarbonize.”
“I see the cooperation agreement as a big step towards Danish energy islands becoming a reality and with huge gains for a greener Europe,” said Thomas Egebo, the chief executive of Denmark’s Energinet.
Stefan Kapferer, CEO of 50Hertz, said: “The Bornholm Energy Island project builds on the good cooperation between 50Hertz and Energinet. With Bornholm Energy Island, we now want to go one step further and realize the first real electricity grid hub for the Baltic Sea.”
The agreements show not only that the whole idea of energy islands and connections to several countries is a good idea, but also that the countries are very keen to implement the huge offshore wind projects.
The three TSOs now can jointly start feasibility studies and cooperate on the business cases that are to be used as a basis for national approvals in Belgium, Germany and Denmark. The cooperation agreements are also the first steps towards final investment decisions.
These are undeniably great developments, but it would of course have been much nicer if the Netherlands had also been involved. After all, the cable also is going to run through their EEZ. It is known at Ocean Energy Resources that pressure has indeed been exerted on the Dutch government to also sit down with Denmark, Belgium and Germany, but for whatever reason, the Dutch minister, including the energy and climate senior officials are not yet really enthusiastic about this initiative.
At the Dutch pavilion during WindEurope in Copenhagen, people, therefore, spoke of shame about the fact that during the official signing ceremony, the Dutch government was conspicuous by their absence. There was widespread misunderstanding.
The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy was not willing to comment. A spokesman of Elia said in this respect that the advantage of connecting to energy islands is that later on a third country can join. These energy islands are the first building blocks of an interconnected sea grid.