It would connect turbines off the wind-lashed north coast of Scotland with Germany\’s vast arrays of solar panels, and join the power of waves crashing on to the Belgian and Danish coasts with the hydro-electric dams nestled in Norway\’s fjords: Europe\’s first electricity grid dedicated to renewable power will become a political reality this month, as nine countries formally draw up plans to link their clean energy projects around the North Sea.

The network, made up of thousands of kilometres of highly efficient undersea cables that could cost up to €30bn (£26.5bn), would solve one of the biggest criticisms faced by renewable power – that unpredictable weather means it is unreliable.

With a renewables supergrid, electricity can be supplied across the continent from wherever the wind is blowing, the sun is shining or the waves are crashing.

Bit of a blow to certain greenie types.

You can either have renewables or you can have self-sufficiency. But you cannot have both.

Norway\’s hydro facilities will become the battery for the whole system. Not, in outline, a bad idea.

But it isn\’t self-sufficiency, is it?

25 thoughts on “Interesting”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    It is self sufficiency. Just on a bigger scale than the nation state. Which is sort of what they want isn’t it? The Left doesn’t want Britain to, well, exist by and large. They like the EU on the whole.

    It is a win win for those Greens who don’t want us to be self-sufficient on the scale of a village.

  2. The Great Simpleton

    Up next, a report telling us that we could share the burden of growing food. As an example warm countries could produce crops such as fruit and cooler countries concentrate on what grows best there, say, potatoes.

    I’m sure that with a bit of thought and effort we could find lots of other areas where it is beneficial for us to specialise and trade with other specialists. What we need is a mechanism to help us discover those areas as I’m sure it would make us all better off.

  3. So that means the bastards in the Scottish ‘Government’ will give the go-ahead for a connector from Shetland to the mainland, and Viking Energy will be allowed to put up their fucking windmills, destroying the beauty of Shetland (and the view from my house, which will become unsellable, just to declare an interest.)

  4. Brian, follower of Deornoth


    I quite agree; I saw a half-dozen of the things when I was there, turning over lazily from time to time in the howling gale that was raging (gentle breeze to the locals, perhaps), and I thought of the wonders that could be achieved with a few sticks of dynamite (that, sadly, I did not have about my person at the time).
    (I plan to return to admire the view, to declare an interest. Just as soon as I can stand up in the wind. And as soon as the damned windmills are out of the way.)

  5. Who do we FOI to find out how much power the wind turbines have been generating druing this very cold but very still period?

  6. The Belgian coast is a particularly unpromising site for wave power. And hydro dams don’t typically nestle up fjords, it being a distinct advantage to locate them above sea level. Shit squared.

  7. I wonder how much sympathy people who live next to conventional power stations – say, the residents of Didcot – have with people complaining about unsightly windmills?

    This might be a bit of a blow to certain types of greenie, but greenies with more than two braincells will be cheered by this news

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    Serf – “How do we make sure that none of the electrons flowing were from satanic fossil fuel power stations?”

    It is worse than that. Some power companies burn unwanted bio-materials such as discarded meat. The supermarkets sell it to them for the calorie value. How can a Vegetarian consume electricity in good conscience?

  9. Installing renewable energy and using Norwegian hydroelectric power as a storage device is very canny thinking but is it enough?

    The aim is to be an effective pumped storage facility without needing to do any pumping – in windy times Norway turns it’s hydro down and uses European wind energy, in becalmed times Norway turns it’s hydro up and Europe uses Norway’s energy.

    Will Norway be installing any more hydro power? 30GW won’t keep Europe running for long and if it gets depleted it’ll need a vast surplus of wind to power Europe *and* let Norwegian reserviors refill.

  10. Thanks Gareth.

    Average temp for the UK in the last 24 hours has been what? maybe -1C and wind power has generated 0.4% of requirements. Brilliant. Climate change will kill us when we all freeze to death in our homes.

  11. ‘Winston’ – data on current and recent power generation is available here:
    Just scroll down to the ‘Generation by Fuel Type’ table & chart (NB these show power station output that is notified to the grid, i.e. excluding distributed wind generation – total wind capacity is about 3 times the level included)

    Unfortunately, wind regularly contributes less than 1% of our power – often for prolonged periods of time, especially during cold weather . Not much of a return for the £1bn pa cost to consumers of subsidising it through the Renewables Obligation, is it?

  12. Thanks for your advice, Matthew. If both my grannies weren’t dead, I’d hire you to teach them to suck eggs. I don’t want to sell my house, since I love it and the biew it currently commands; but if the windmills came along, I wouldn’t want to live in it, and couldn’t sell it at a price I could afford to accept. That’s what ‘unsellable’ was shorthand for. Now get back into the playpen with Richard Murphy, and don’t fight over who gets to use the abacus.

  13. Here’s some even better environmental news:

    “New findings on traditionally reared beef and dairy foods could lead to their reinstatement as “protective foods”, as they were once known. Far from causing illness, they may play a key role in defending the body against modern diseases. Even more remarkably, their production is now being seen as part of a land management system that benefits the planet”.

    I just felt it in my bones that I was doing the right thing yesterday when I had rib of beef – the crisp fat when chewed yielded delectable juicy oleaginous nectar. Much better than sex – as far as I remember. My mum had it right: “the nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat”.
    Thank you cows!

  14. Well, it might mean that we can continue to heat ourselves when the wind is not blowing- but I’ll bet its a whole lot dearer than conventional power plants. That’s why India and China are building coal plants as fast as they can.

  15. Tendryakov, of course meat is beneficial to your health!

    Medieval Britons were lucky to reach 30 and they lived on turnips and bread.

    The bronze age average was 18 years, but in Sweden it was 40-60 (wikipedia), slice of Reindeer anyone?

  16. The network, made up of thousands of kilometres of highly efficient undersea cables that could cost up to €30bn (£26.5bn)…

    Jesus Christ! $40bn just for the cabling?!! We built the entire Sakhalin II project (2 new platforms, 1 platform upgrade, 40km undersea pipeline, 1600km onshore pipeline, an oil export terminal, an onshore processing facility, a booster station, and a 2-train LNG plant) for $24bn. At the time, this was the biggest integrated oil and gas project in the world.

    And they’re looking to pay over one and a half times that just for the high-voltage cabling? Somebody’s getting ripped off.

  17. Couple of points:

    Firstly those vast solar arrays of solar power in Germany. Hunland might be famous for many things (sausages, beer, invading their neighbours with monotonous regularity, etc) but tropical levels of sunshine ain’t one of them.

    Secondly, it’s only cited as a political reality. I know politicians like to believe that simply signing a piece of paper makes something happen, but, out here in the real world, we generally wait until something is built and working before declaring it a reality.

  18. Are Norway’s mountains actually big enough for anything useful to come of this?

    Has anyone done the arithmetic? Knowing greenies, I would guess not.

  19. Winston, “Medieval Britons were lucky to reach 30”


    I think maybe you’ve been confused by very high rates of infant mortality, which are probably nothing to do with meat-eating.

    Try again, using the life expectancy at age fifteen for your comparisons.

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