World's first energy island is tested at DHI
Today, DHI received a visit in Denmark from the Belgian Minister of Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten, who came to see the large-scale model of the world’s first energy island, the Princess Elisabeth Island. The Belgian energy island will be an extension of the electricity grid in the North Sea, connect wind farms from the sea to the mainland and create new connections with select countries.
Princess Elisabeth Island will be an energy hub 45 km from the coast that connects new wind farms and additional interconnectors with the United Kingdom and Denmark to Belgium's onshore electricity grid.
‘The clean energy transition, born out of climate necessity, is now an economic and security imperative. That is why we transform the North Sea into Europe’s biggest green energy power plant. Belgium and Denmark stand prominently at the forefront of Europe's offshore wind ambitions. Together, we will harness the immense potential of offshore wind energy, to power European households with cheap, green electricity. Belgium’s ambitions are exemplified by the development of the world's first energy island, the Princes Elisabeth Island. A pioneering project for several reasons. It is the most cost-effective and reliable way to bring offshore wind to shore. It will also be a hub for future interconnectors, with Denmark for example,’ says Tinne Van der Straeten.
At 8.6 by 3.8 metres, the scale model of the Princess Elisabeth Island (1/60) is one of the largest ever built in DHI’s wave basins, and the experts at DHI are testing the resistance of the design against current and waves that can occur during storms. The tests are taking place in DHI’s world-leading test facilities, which include a wave laboratory. The tests simulate the effect of extreme storms with a return period of up to 10,000 years.
‘We have supported the energy sector for almost 60 years with our combination of physical model tests and numerical tools, and we are proud to support Belgium in this important step towards more renewable energy’, explains Mette Vestergaard, CEO at DHI.
‘We have state-of-the-art test facilities that are used to reduce design risks in critical infrastructure projects like the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark and major ports abroad. We also have experts with the requisite knowledge and experience with the challenges involved in projects of this magnitude.’
The DHI test centre
DHI's wave pool lab in Hørsholm, Denmark, is unique in hydraulic testing. DHI has 60 years of experience in physical model tests and numerical tools for infrastructure development in the offshore energy sector. Several major infrastructure works were given final shape here based on the laboratory results.
For the Princess Elisabeth Island, the combinations of waves and currents simulated have a statistical probability of occurrence between 1 and 10,000 years. The DHI experts demonstrated a test for the Belgian minister, where parameters such as the influence of the angle at which a wave hits the island will be looked at for a 1,000-year storm.
Tinne Van der Straeten says:
‘As we tap into the North Sea's renewable energy resources, we are not only bolstering our energy security but also creating jobs and fostering innovation. Here in Hørsholm, Denmark, at DHI’s wave pool lab, a large-scale model of the Princes Elisabeth Island is tested against waves that can occur during a 1,000-year storm. Thanks to this state-of-the-art hydraulic testing, we can further refine the structure of the energy island. It signifies Belgium’s unwavering dedication to advancing sustainable energy solutions. Since the Princess Elisabeth Island is a world first, the outcomes of the tests will have a significant positive impact on the future of offshore renewable energy projects worldwide.’
'Thanks to this state-of-the-art hydraulic testing, we can further refine the structure of the energy island.'
Tinne Van der Straeten, Belgian Minister of Energy
About the Princess Elisabeth Island
Princess Elisabeth Island will be the world's first artificial energy island to combine both high voltage direct current (HVDC) and high voltage alternating current (HVAC). The high-voltage infrastructure on the island will bundle the export cables from the wind farms of the new Princess Elisabeth Zone and at the same time become a hub for future interconnectors with Great Britain (Nautilus) and Denmark (TritonLink). These are so-called hybrid interconnectors that have a dual function and are therefore more efficient. They not only provide power exchange between countries but are also connected to new offshore wind farms in the North Sea that will eventually supply Belgium with large volumes of renewable energy.
The Belgian marine contractors DEME and Jan De Nul are collaborating through the consortium TM Edison on the construction of the energy island for the Belgian utility Elia. TM Edison is DHI’s client in this project.
You can read more about Princess Elisabeth Island here
How can we help?
With our global network of offices, we make sure you get the right answers to your local needs. Tell us about your water challenges and we will get back to you.