Transmission system operators TenneT and Statnett have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to investigate the possibilities for a hybrid interconnector between Germany and Norway in the North Sea. With the connection, the two transmission system operators would not connect North Sea wind farms in one country as before but would connect them in parallel with Norway and Germany. Implementing such a hybrid project could be promising for both countries, as the wind profiles of Germany and Norway complement each other particularly well. For example, wind energy can be imported from Norway – or vice versa- if there is no wind in the German North Sea. This would increase security of supply in both countries.

Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of TenneT, says: “The MoU with Statnett marks a significant milestone for the cross-border offshore network in the North Sea. Only if we jointly exploit the potential of the North Sea will we achieve an efficient and robust offshore network in the future. Our successful collaboration at NordNed and NordLink has shown that TenneT and Statnett are the right partners to advance groundbreaking projects.”

The Norwegian transmission system operator’s analyses also examine the entire North Sea region, including Germany, Denmark, Great Britain and Belgium, as possible alternative connection points. This study is intended to be the basis for a hybrid interconnector as an alternative grid solution for the new offshore wind farms on the Norwegian continental shelf announced for 2025. Germany is an interesting partner due to its existing, well-developed offshore capacities.

TenneT is involved in implementing further hybrid interconnectors: TenneT is currently pushing forward LionLink, a connection between Great Britain and the Netherlands, together with the British transmission system operator National Grid. At the same time, TenneT is investigating international connections between the Netherlands and Belgium and between Germany and the Netherlands. A future collaboration with Statnett would round off the TenneT portfolio in the North Sea and contribute to a European offshore network.

However, technical and legal regulations are still a prerequisite for European development of the North Sea, warns Meyerjürgens: “It is essential that the technical, regulatory and economic framework conditions for an offshore network that is shared across Europe are quickly adapted. This is the only way we can ensure that the first hybrid projects can go into operation successfully as early as the 2030s.”

Energy from the North Sea offers enormous potential and plays a crucial role in achieving the European energy transition. By 2050, the North Sea is expected to become Europe’s largest energy supplier and deliver 300 GW of green electricity. In addition to TenneT, Statnett has therefore also concluded memorandums of understanding with other transmission system operators, including Elia, Energinet, Amprion and National Grid. The cooperation between TenneT and Statnett represents an important step towards a sustainable and cross-border energy future between Germany and Norway. Further information and progress are expected as the investigations progress.

Image source: Courtesy of TenneT

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