European Energy and Environmental Law Review

Volume 20 (2011)

Volume 20 (2011) / Issue 3

Rudiger Tscherning, 'The European Offshore Supergrid and the Expansion of Offshore Wind Energy in Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom – Legal, Political and Practical Challenges' (2011) 20 European Energy and Environmental Law Review, Issue 3, pp. 76–87


The intention of this paper is to provide an up to date overview of the key legal, political and practical challenges arising from the proposal by Airtricity/Mainstream Renewable Power to construct a European offshore Supergrid, a super-structure of interconnected HVDC subsea electricity networks designed to span the coastal regions of the European continent. The paper takes a multi-disciplinary and comparative approach of the legal and policy positions in three core European offshore wind energy markets and is motivated by a firm belief that the Supergrid is an ``achievable'' energy infrastructure project.

Two central objectives of the Europe Union's energy policy are rooted in the Supergrid proposal. In the first instance, the Supergrid would enhance the expansion of renewable electricity generation in Europe, thus acting as an implementation tool for the European Union's climate change obligations. At the same time, the proposal would also contribute to the achievement of the union's triple energy policy goals: Emission reductions, energy security and technical competitiveness. In its second capacity, by developing an interconnected offshore grid network, the Supergrid would duplicate the congested European onshore grid and serve as a vast interconnector between energy markets. By enabling for the first time the genuine competitive trading of electricity across the union's borders, the proposal would considerably contribute to the achievement of the single European electricity market.

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ISSN: 0966-1646
ID: EELR2011007