North Sea artificial island 'could create Humber jobs'

Image source, Tennet
Image caption,
The artificial island would be surrounded by wind farms, and feature an airport and harbour

A plan to build an island in the North Sea as a hub for offshore wind farms could create thousands of jobs on the Humber, a major manufacturer has said.

Dutch energy company Tennet is seeking to build the base to convert wind energy and then distribute it to six countries.

Dogger Bank has been earmarked due to high wind readings and shallow water.

Siemens, which has a large wind turbine factory in Hull, called the proposal an "exciting and innovative idea".

Tennet said it was having to look for possibilities "far out at sea" to meet future wind energy needs, with the area 78 miles (125km) off the East Yorkshire coast deemed a suitable site.

The island, part of the North Sea Wind Power Hub project, would feature an airport, harbour and converters to change wind-generated electricity from alternating current to direct current.

It would then be transmitted over cables to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Norway, Germany and Denmark.

Image source, Tennet
Image caption,
Tennet said the electricity generated could be distributed to several European countries

The energy company claims the move would lower costs of offshore wind energy generation due to shorter power cables and reduced transport costs.

'Energy estuary'

Ray Thompson, head of business development at Siemens Gamesa UK and Ireland, said: "A project of such a scale would require significant expertise and infrastructure; it would be logical for this to be based in what is now known as the energy estuary.

"If it were to be based there, such a project would potentially create thousands of direct and supply chain jobs locally."

Tennet said the 6 sq km (2.3 sq-mile) island could be built as early as 2030, but would cost €1.5bn even before infrastructure and facilities are factored in.

Mr Thompson added: "It could be a solution to the increasing distances from shore where wind farms are now being constructed.

"If technical and commercial challenges can be overcome, the concept of an artificial island is an exciting and innovative idea which could potentially help with further cost reductions in the future and facilitate ever larger wind farms."

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