2017 - North Sea as a Future Powerhouse Seminar

A smart, gradual path towards 2050 – electrons and molecules in the future energy system

On Friday the 17th of March EDI organised the first edition of the “North Sea as a Future Powerhouse” – event in cooperation with GasTerra and Gasunie, and our hosting party Siemens. More than 20 energy professionals from various companies came together to listen to the energetic developments in the North Sea and discuss the feasibility of various options of system integration. 

Ab van der Touw, CEO of Siemens, kicked-off the course-event by highlighting the urgency of human creativity for innovation, followed by Eva de Leede (Minstery of Economic Affairs) who touched upon the governmental vision for energy developments on the North Sea. “To realise the Dutch goal to reduce CO2 emission in 2050 towards 95% we need a smart, gradual, and a cost-effective transition path”.  The North Sea is an important asset to realise this.

In 2045 total energy demand will be covered for 45% by electrons and for 55% by (green) molecules. Erik Zigterman and Michel Müller (Royal Haskoning en Ecofys) specified last Friday that this requires by 2045 a 180GW of installed offshore wind power. Given a depth of 40m and the current spatial design of the North Sea Area, only Denmark and the UK would have sufficient capacity within their current assigned wind energy areas to fulfil their national wind energy objectives. Hence, international cooperation, a lobby to adjust spatial plans (e.g. environmental and military), and/or deeper areas for windmill location are needed to reach the Dutch objectives of energy demand as stated in the Paris Agreement.  

Jasper Vis (Dong) explained how scale, innovation and industrialisation enabled Dong to cut the levelised cost of offshore wind with 52% of the 2012 starting point, leading to tender bits from 72€/MWh. As future offshore wind farms will be located further from shore, cost associated with production and transport of wind energy are expected to increase. However, if it would be up to Mart van der Meijden (Tennet) large scale, more stable wind flows, and international cooperation in the modular island concept could reduce offshore transmission costs towards 90% of a current close to shore AC solution. Hence, a central offshore hub and spoke system could significantly reduce the cost of offshore transmission of wind energy.

Meanwhile, offshore gas and oil production has entered a downtrend. Small field offshore gas production will decrease from 25mld. Nm³ Geq in 2016 towards 2mld Nm³ in Geq in 2030. The prospects of offshore decommissioning indicate that more than 90% of the platforms will be decommissioned, however, in reality the platform-life may be extended via prolongation of production, re-use of platform on other location, or the repurpose of platform for other activities. Regarding the latter, Rene Peters (TNO) highlighted potential repurpose options for platform to create great synergies with the increasing offshore wind capacities, e.g. platform electrification, carbon storage and transport, gas to wire, power to hydrogen, energy storage. A particular first step in system integration could be the electrification of 3 platforms (K5, K14 and L10). According to Rene van der Meer (Engie) these platforms could be connected with 66kv cables to Hollandse Kust Helmveld, leading to a reduction of 300.000 tons CO2/y and fuel savings of 150 million Nm³. In addition, his project  includes upside potential for green hydrogen production and enhanced oil recovery from stranded oil fields.

Hence, it was an interactive and intensive first edition, in which most elements of energetic developments, spatial issues, integration options, international coordination and practical business cases were addressed.


Jochem Durenkamp – GasTerra: “The seminar was very informative! All aspects were treated, it was interactive and the experts complemented each other. The North Sea can be a great contributor towards a sustainable energy supply and it was good to see that we are all working towards it”. 


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