Leaders from ten global companies gathered in Brussels today to announce publicly the formation of the "Friends of the Supergrid" (FOSG) which has been set up to progress policy towards the construction of a pan-European Offshore Supergrid. Through the combination of their respective areas of expertise, the FOSG members have unique insight into the policies needed to create the Supergrid and have the capability to deliver it in practice.
The FOSG 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. It brings together the organisations that will design the physical equipment, with those who will build the structures at sea.
The founding members include 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.
Speaking on behalf of the members, Daniel Dobbeni Chief Executive of Elia said: "A Supergrid at sea is key to a reliable supply of renewable energy in the long term. As a Transmission system operator for electricity, we at Elia consider that it is part of our mission to make large-scale integration of renewable energy a sustainable and efficient reality. Linking the various large offshore wind farms aims at maximising their availability as wind always blows somewhere in North Western Europe. We also believe that these grids in the sea will lead to a better and more efficient distribution of the generated electricity to mainland, helping transmission system operators achieving a reliable security of supply. In other words, joining the Friends of the Supergrid allows Elia to contribute from day one to these future achievements."
In December last year, nine EU Member States, including the UK 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 is solely able to present "cradle to grave" interconnection solutions to the policy-makers and others looking to develop energy policy across Europe through to 2050.
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.
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 centres of consumption, one of whose fundamental attributes will be the enhancement of the market in electricity."
The Supergrid will open markets, strengthen security of supply and create another global opportunity for European companies to export sustainable energy technology. The technology underpinning the Supergrid will give competitive advantage to the companies involved with its specification and design. This type of integrated AC/DC grid will be a template for what will be needed in other global markets including the US and China.