Industry group launched to promote European supergrid


Eddie O’Connor,
CE, Mainstream
Renewable Power
Brussels, Belgium — (METERING.COM) — March 15, 2010 – A group of ten companies have established a “Friends of the Supergrid” (FOSG) to progress policy towards the construction of a pan-European offshore supergrid to connect large scale renewable power generation across the region.

Through the combination of their respective areas of expertise, the FOSG members believe they have a unique insight into the policies needed to create the supergrid as well as the capability to deliver it in practice.

The companies are 3E, AREVA T&D, DEME Blue Energy, Elia, Hochtief Construction AG, Mainstream Renewable Power, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Prysmian Cables & Systems, Siemens and Visser & Smit Marine Contracting.

In a statement the FOSG says it is the only representative body that combines companies in sectors that will deliver the high voltage direct current (HVDC) infrastructure and related technology, together with companies that will develop, install, own and operate that infrastructure.

Speaking at the launch on the group, Mainstream Renewable Power’s chief executive Dr Eddie O’Connor said: “The U.K. government has recently shown its commitment to large-scale offshore wind by announcing the development of up to 50 GW by 2020. We now need to integrate this huge resource into Europe to enable the open trade of electricity between Member States. The Friends of the Supergrid is uniquely placed to influence policy makers towards creating the supergrid and ultimately changing how we generate, transmit and consume electricity for generations to come.”

The concept of the supergrid was first launched a decade ago and it is defined as “an electricity transmission system, mainly based on direct current, designed to facilitate large-scale sustainable power generation in remote areas for transmission to centers of consumption, one of whose fundamental attributes will be the enhancement of the market in electricity.”

In December last year, nine EU member states, including the U.K. and Germany, signed a political declaration for the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative. Last month Norway signed the declaration, whose aim is to develop policy to advance offshore interconnection in Europe.

The FOSG will be run by an executive and directed by the board of members. Membership will be kept to a maximum of 20 companies and aims to have both an industrial and geographic cross-section, with its base in Brussels.