Whether a binding climate change agreement will be reached at this week’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is still up in the air, but at least some progress has been made in the realm of renewable energy. Nine European countries–Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Ireland–signed the “North Seas’ Countries Offshore Grid Initiative,” a plan to create an offshore wind power supergrid in the North and North West seas.
The plan means that offshore wind parks in various countries could all be linked–so wind power from Ireland could be used in Germany, for example. According to a press release from Ireland’s Department of Communications, the plan will allow Irish wind farms to “connect directly to Europe, not only securing our energy supply but allowing us
to sell the electricity produced on a wider market.” The same holds for all countries involved in the deal.
Plenty of details have yet to be worked out. The countries have no idea how much the plan will cost, let alone what companies will be responsible for constructing the wind farms and transmission lines. But if it is carried out, the offshore grid initiative will help Europe reach its goal of generating 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2020. Another potential renewable energy boon for the continent is Desertec, a solar pipeline project connecting Europe to North Africa and the Middle East. Like the offshore wind initiative, Desertec is still in the planning stages.