EU research project PROMOTioN presents final project results: Technologies for a meshed HVDC offshore wind transmission grid in Europe are ready for use – political will and action at all stakeholder levels is needed now

  • The successful development and testing of technologies for a meshed HVDC offshore wind transmission grid such as HVDC circuit breakers, HVDC gas insulated substations, HVDC system control, and HVDC system protection systems within the project is completed - technologies can be commercially marketed immediately
  • Focus: a full-scale pilot project at sea along with the initiation of the development of common system operation guidelines and grid codes for standardisation of technologies are now absolutely necessary to respectively enable and demonstrate the benefits of multi-terminal HVDC networks
  • Politics must push the development of the required technical, regulatory, and economic frameworks necessary for the organic step-by-step development of meshed offshore HVDC networks
  • Pragmatic regional collaboration and coordination must be initiated at all stakeholder levels to implement PROMOTioN recommendations to create a level regulatory playing field including agreements on technical compatibility, asset classification, governance, market models, planning and permitting systems, support schemes, decommissioning, and conflict resolution


Berlin/Arnhem, 21 September 2020. The EU-funded Horizon2020 project ‘Progress on Meshed HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks’ (PROMOTioN) presented its research results at a final online conference today. The event, titled ‘North Sea Grid for the European Green Deal: How to unlock Europe's Offshore Wind potential - a deployment plan for a meshed HVDC grid’, marks the culmination of over four years of practice-oriented research and full-scale technology demonstrations on integrated offshore HVDC transmission grids by 34 international project partners who represent the whole industry value chain. 

The project has demonstrated that the necessary technologies for a meshed HVDC offshore wind transmission network are ready for use, but that political will and more European cooperation are needed to develop the regulatory and technical frameworks necessary to implement them. As a first step, real full-scale cross-border pilot projects at sea should be launched to gain practical experience and demonstrate the real-life benefits of multi-terminal grid development. In parallel, work on developing a uniform grid code and operation guidelines should be initiated.

A stronger European and cross-border expansion of offshore wind energy improves energy security, reduces environmental impact, and has the potential to trigger necessary investments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coordinated, multi-purpose, interconnected HVDC transmission infrastructure is the most socio-economically optimal way to integrate this offshore wind energy into the existing transmission infrastructure. Joint European offshore wind and transmission projects can thus be an essential component of the Green Recovery plan.

Andreas Feicht, State Secretary at the German Ministry of Economy and Energy and Keynote Speaker of the conference, said: “The PROMOTioN-project played an important role in providing input on how offshore wind and the necessary grids and market rules have to be established in Europe. We invited PROMOTioN researchers to contribute to the discussions in the North Seas Energy Cooperation under German Presidency, earlier this year. The results of the PROMOTioN project are therefore very timely: the project partners' work on developing a common vision for a North Sea offshore grid, the necessary technical standards, and the regulatory and economic framework provides valuable input for our political discussions in the North Seas Energy Cooperation and in the European Council, as well as domestically.”

Catharina Sikow-Magny, European Commission Director of “Internal Energy Market" – DG Energy and Keynote Speaker of the conference, added: “Offshore Renewable Energy is at the core of the transformation of the energy sector and of reaching the European climate goals. Offshore wind is likely to impact the decarbonisation of the wider economy through increased electrification of other sectors as well, such as heating and transport. Europe needs strong coordination and cooperation on planning processes beyond national borders to be able to tap into the potential of offshore renewable energy. The comprehensive work by PROMOTioN on offshore meshed grids provides valuable input to the Commission’s work.”   

PROMOTioN project shows next steps to develop a meshed offshore HVDC transmission network

As the European Union aims to fully decarbonise its economy by the middle of the 21st century, offshore wind energy plays an important role in that endeavour with a potential of 450 GW until 2050, of which 200 GW alone would be located in the North Sea. Traditionally, offshore wind farm export links and interconnectors have been realised as point-to-point connections. But as we become increasingly dependent on wind power generation and interconnection capacity with other countries, meshed offshore grid topologies are being considered to enable efficient, economical, and reliable transmission offshore. Due to the high power levels and long distances involved, high voltage direct current technology, also known as HVDC, is likely to be employed, requiring converter stations both on- and offshore.

Since 2016, the project partners have been working on solutions at technical and regulatory levels that were once considered obstacles on the way to such a meshed offshore HVDC transmission network. The project partners have developed and tested reliable HVDC network protection and control solutions, worked towards technology interoperability and standardisation of testing of key components, outlined recommendations for an EU-wide regulatory and financial framework, and developed a deployment plan as well as a roadmap for implementation until 2050. Furthermore, the project has conducted full-scale demonstrations of HVDC system control, HVDC system protection, HVDC gas-insulated switchgear, and HVDC circuit breakers. These technologies are crucial to ensure a safe, stable, and reliable operation of a meshed HVDC transmission network. 

The project results show especially that:

  • Hardware based technologies such as HVDC circuit breakers and HVDC gas insulated substations are ready for use and can be manufactured industrially immediately
  • Software based technologies such as HVDC system control and HVDC system protection have been proven to work and to be interoperable, and are considered ready for a real world pilot
  • Further research is outlined to improve performance and whole system integration
  • The next step is to develop full-scale pilot projects at sea. Such a development would accelerate the much needed uniform DC grid code and specify system operation guidelines, agreement on high level technical system characteristics (such as operational configurations, voltage levels, system earthing, and converter configurations)
  • Clear support and affirmation from politicians regarding the regulation and market models of the meshed grid and more cooperation at a European political level as well as at the level of network operators is absolutely necessary
  • UK and Norway ideally should be included in the development of joint offshore wind transmission grids in the North Sea and Irish Sea.


Final web conference features high-level speakers from politics, industry, and academia

At the final web conference today, the project partners showcased the results of their years-long research on technical, economic, legal, financial, regulatory, and system planning issues concerning meshed offshore HVDC transmission networks and other relevant project aspects to over 400 participants. The event featured keynote speeches by key policy makers and government decision makers, panel discussions with representatives from the whole offshore wind sector, the HVDC equipment industry and Transmission System Operators, and experts from academia. Additionally, high-level speakers representing transmission and offshore wind sectors weighed in on the results and delivered their own thoughts on the opportunities and challenges ahead. 

> Read the press release

This Friday, a last live Q&A session on the subject 'Offshore Grid Planning' will take place with representatives from the companies Elia and Amprion on September 18th at 10 AM CET. To register, click here. In addition, videos of all four breakout sessions are now available online

There is also only less than one week to go until the final online conference of the project PROMOTioN takes place on September 21st from 10 AM until 3 PM CET. The event, titled “North Sea Grid for the European Green Deal: How to unlock Europe's Offshore Wind potential - a deployment plan for a meshed HVDC grid”, marks the culmination of over four years of intense practice-oriented research on planning offshore wind projects and meshed transmission grids. Keynote speakers inclue Catharina Sikow-Magny (Director of Internal Energy Market of the European Commission) and Andreas Feicht (State Secretary of the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy). Registriation continues to be possible until the start of the event.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Martin Neubert (CEO, Ørsted Wind Power Germany GmbH)
  • Vera Silva (CTO, GE Grid Solutions & Vice President of Innovation, T&D Europe)
  • Jan-Paul Dijckmans (Associate Director Strategy & Partnership Department, TenneT)
  • Søren Dupont Kristensen (CEO, Energinet)
  • Ditlev Engel (CEO, DNV GL Energy)
  • Mark v. Stiphout (Deputy Head of Unit - Research and Innovation at DG Energy)


Additional speakers include

  • Laurent Schmitt (Secretary General, ENTSO-E)
  • Giles Dickson (CEO, WindEurope)
  • John Moore (Advisor Business Development, TenneT)
  • Cornelis Plet (Energy Advisor, DNV-GL & Project Coordinator, PROMOTioN)


The programme of the conference and additional information about the event can be found here.

Arnhem/Berlin, 6 July 2020. The EU-funded Horizon2020 project ‘Progress on Meshed HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks’ (PROMOTioN) will present its research & demonstration results and recommendations at a final online event on September 21, 2020. The event, titled “North Sea Grid for the European Green Deal: How to unlock Europe's Offshore Wind potential - a deployment plan for a meshed HVDC grid”, marks the culmination of over four years of intense practice-oriented research on planning offshore wind projects and meshed transmission grids. The event was originally scheduled for May 2020 in Brussels but, due to the COVID-19 crisis, will now take place as a fully digital conference.

Registration for the final event is possible via this link is possible:

Technical and non-technical Break-out Sessions on conclusive detailed findings will take the weeks before the online final event from 24 August – 18 September 2020. Each Breakout Session will be dedicated to a certain theme and consist of pre-recorded presentations that can be accessed online as well as a live Q&A session. More Information

Confirmed speakers on September 21 include e.g.:

  • Martin Neubert (CEO, Orsted Wind Power Germany GmbH)
  • Vera Silva (CTO, GE Grid Solutions & Vice president of Innovation, T&D Europe)
  • Tim Meyerjürgens (COO, TenneT Holding BV)
  • Torben Glar Nielsen (CTO, Energinet DK)
  • Ditlev Engel (CEO, DNV GL Energy)
  • Mark v. Stiphout (Deputy Head of Unit - Research and Innovation at DG Energy)


Since 2016, project partners from TSOs, manufacturers, developers, consultants and research institutions have worked to address the barriers in developing a meshed offshore HVDC transmission network. As part of the project, they have developed and tested reliable network protection solutions, worked towards technology interoperability and standardisation as well as outlined recommendations for an EU-wide regulatory and financial framework. In addition to the theoretical approach, the project has also conducted full-scale demonstrations of, e.g. HVDC network control systems, gas-insulated switchgear and circuit breakers to address the more technical issues surrounding meshed offshore grids. During the preceding break-out sessions and at the final web conference on 21 September, project partners will showcase the overall results of their years-long research on the technical, economic, legal, financial and regulatory issues concerning meshed offshore transmission networks and other relevant project results.

  • In the first half of 2020, only 219 MW of offshore wind energy was installed in Germany, as of 30 June the total capacity was 7,760 MW
  • Industry welcomes long-term planning security with increased expansion targets up to 2040 and calls for an economically efficient remuneration model
  • Creation of an incentive system for the market ramp-up of green hydrogen is important
  • EU Council Presidency and North Sea Cooperation:  Laying the foundation for cross-border offshore wind projects
  • Offshore wind energy will make a significant contribution to the "Green Recovery"

Berlin, 17 July 2020 - "Particularly against the background of the low level of new installations, we appreciate that the anchoring of 20 GW offshore wind energy by 2030 and 40 GW by 2040 now creates long-term planning security. With the increased expansion targets, offshore wind energy strengthens climate protection and creates economic development", the industry organisations BWE, BWO, VDMA, WAB and the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation comment on the offshore expansion figures published today by Deutsche WindGuard.

As forecast at the beginning of the year, only 32 offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 219 MW were connected to the German grid in the first half of 2020.[1] This figure corresponds to around 11 percent of the installed capacity of 2 GW that the domestic value chain implemented in 2015. According to the current status, 1,501 turbines with a total output of 7,760 MW are thus reliably supplying offshore wind power in Germany. The Federal Government's expansion target for 2020 has already been achieved in the first half of the year.

"Not least because of the long planning time of offshore wind farms, we have long warned that an expansion gap is imminent. We are now in the middle of it. The challenge now is to keep this expansion gap as small as possible and to strengthen the domestic market for offshore wind energy sustainably and permanently. In addition to anchoring the long-term goals in law, this also includes putting the available areas out to tender as quickly as possible and choosing an economically efficient remuneration system for future offshore wind projects," the industry organisations explain. The basis for this should be created quickly after the summer break and in dialogue with the industry.

Contracts for difference are economically efficient

Like the Federal Council, the industry is in favour of seriously examining the introduction of contracts for difference and discussing it with all relevant stakeholders. This model already exists in other European countries - for example in the UK, France, Italy and Denmark. It would therefore also simplify cross-border tenders.

On the other hand, the second bidding component planned for the amendment to the Offshore Wind Law (WindSeeG) would increase investment costs and thus also electricity generation costs, according to the industry representatives. However, internationally competitive electricity prices are of great importance for the economic reconstruction after the Corona crisis. Otherwise, there is a risk of further loss of important jobs and carbon leakage due to the move of German companies abroad.

In contrast to the second bid component, contracts for difference could secure the realisation of offshore wind projects and thus contribute to the achievement of national and European CO2 reduction targets. "It must be examined whether it is possible to combine them with power purchase agreements (PPAs) or other forms of marketing and thus pass on the green characteristics. Differentiation agreements of this kind ensure a more cost-efficient expansion of offshore wind energy, prevent overfunding in connection with competitive tenders and guarantee low and stable electricity costs in the long term," the industry organisations argue. Experts from the German Institute for Economic Research assume that the electricity production costs can be reduced by about 30 percent compared to the current proposals of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).

Offshore wind energy excellently suited to produce green hydrogen

The associations welcome the ramp-up in the domestic market as laid down in the National Hydrogen Strategy (NWS) and underline that offshore wind energy has a key role to play in this. "With its high full-load hours, offshore wind energy is excellently suited for the production of green hydrogen," the industry organisations explain. Since direct electrification is not technically or economically feasible in all sectors, synthetic energy sources based on renewable energies are an indispensable element in achieving climate targets.

"The NWS opens up the opportunity to use about 3 GW of offshore wind energy to produce green hydrogen. For this purpose, additional areas must be pre-investigated and put out to tender as quickly as possible", the industry representatives say. In the preliminary draft of the area development plan, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has named the first two sites for Power-to-X in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. The award procedure for these areas should begin in 2021. Here, too, an incentive system with efficient levy and redistribution mechanisms must be developed to bring about a rapid market ramp-up for green hydrogen in Germany.

Creating conditions for cross-border offshore projects

The programme of the German EU Council Presidency also recognises offshore wind energy as an important pillar of the "Green Recovery" and energy transition. Since Germany has also held the Presidency of the North Sea Cooperation since the beginning of the year, the coming six months will provide a good basis for laying the foundations for cross-border offshore wind projects.

"The international interconnection of offshore wind farms is a strategic task that is becoming increasingly important. In our view, the initiative for maritime spatial planning is a decisive first step in this respect," the industry organisations explain. What is needed now is a rapid identification of areas suitable for cross-border projects to clarify the investment framework on this basis.

Offshore wind energy will make a significant contribution to the "Green Recovery"

"In the North and Baltic Seas, the potential is not yet exhausted. This includes available areas and free grid capacities of 1,860 MW, which could be allocated at short notice. If the right course is set now, these will not only make a significant contribution to the sustainable economic recovery after the Corona crisis, but will also contribute greatly to achieving the climate targets and security of supply during the energy transition," the industry associations announced.

> Read the press release

> Read the factsheet

[1] For one of the offshore wind turbines, the Market Master Data Register (MaStR) deviates from the commissioning date of 1 July 2020.

On 1 July 2020 representatives of the Polish government and Polish wind energy industry signed a “Letter of Intent on cooperation for development of offshore wind power in Poland”. The letter lays out the foundation for the development of offshore wind in Poland.

The letter defines the next steps in the collaboration to jointly develop a strong wind industry in Poland. It was signed by Poland’s Minister of Climate Michał Kurtyka, Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak, Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation Marek Gróbarczyk, and Plenipotentiary of the Minister of State Assets for Development of Offshore Wind Power Zbigniew Gryglas. Signatories also included Janusz Gajowiecki and Kamila Tarnacka of the Polish Wind Energy Association and Mariusz Witoński and Jakub Budzyński of the Polish Offshore Wind Energy Society.

“Today marks the birth of offshore wind in Poland. Offshore wind has shown its reliability and efficiency elsewhere in Europe. With this joint ‘Letter of Intent’ Polish government and industry send a strong sign to investors and markets – that they want lots of offshore wind too and are putting in place a regulatory framework to support it”, says Giles Dickson, CEO WindEurope.

In its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) Poland identified offshore wind as one of key technologies to meet its goals for renewable energy for 2030. It is also a strategic project in the draft of Poland’s Energy Policy until 2040. It will help diversifying the Polish national power generation structure that today heavily depends on coal.

Poland’s expansion targets for offshore wind are ambitious. Poland doesn’t yet have any offshore wind farms. But by 2030 they aim to have installed 3.8 GW of offshore wind – with 10 GW of new capacity awarded CfDs by then. And by 2050 they want a massive 28 GW, which would make Poland the largest operator of offshore wind in the Baltic Sea.

In the “Letter of Intent”, the signatories agree to take joint action on the development of the offshore wind market in Poland. The letter acknowledges the role of offshore wind in meeting the European Union’s Green Deal objectives while increasing the security of energy supply and reducing Poland’s CO2 emissions. The signatories commit to meet regularly to exchange on progress and experience around the development of offshore wind. The meetings will be coordinated by the Minister of Climate.

“The potential for offshore wind in the Baltic is immense, and the Polish wind industry is ready to get started. Wind will contribute to a more modern, independent and healthy Poland. It will strengthen cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. And it will create future-proof Polish jobs in the manufacturing, service, maritime and port industries”, says Giles Dickson, CEO WindEurope.

The letter is an important step towards Poland’s first “Offshore Wind Act” which is being prepared by the Government and is expected to enter into force in 2020.

> Read the press release by WindEurope

Within the Interreg programme, the Baltic InteGrid project was presented as an exemplary project. The OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY FOUNDATION as project partner was responsible for project communication and stakeholder management. This included the development of online communication and corporate identity as well as the planning and implementation of events and workshops.

The aim of Baltic InteGrid was to analyse the conditions for the development of a common offshore electricity grid infrastructure of the Baltic Sea countries in order to ensure a coordinated planning of the grid infrastructure of offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea region in the future. Project manager Thilo Krupp has reported on the project, results and prospects on the Interreg website.

> Further information about the project

> Go to the Interreg website

> Read the report

The Dortmund-based transmission system operator Amprion has presented Eurobar - a concept for the Europe-wide networking of offshore wind farms. The aim of Eurobar is to integrate offshore electricity into the European power grid in such a way that it makes an optimal contribution to the climate goals in Germany and Europe. Eurobar is modular in design and can be implemented by international partners on their own initiative. The concept envisages designing the new generation of offshore platforms in the North Sea for connection to an offshore grid as early as the planning stage. Later, they can be interconnected step by step - first on a national level and then between the North Sea riparian states. Networking enables wind power to be transported flexibly and across borders to where it is needed. This also reduces the need for additional grid expansion on land.

> Further information

A core objective of the PROMOTioN project is the investigation and demonstration of operation and control of HVDC networks as well as their interaction with offshore wind power plants. While previous work packages of the project, i.e. WP2, WP3 and WP4, focused on simulation-based investigations regarding the challenges associated with the control and protection of future MTDC networks and the connected offshore wind power plants, WP16 continuous their analysis using a laboratory-scaled MTDC demonstrator in a power-hardware-in-the-loop environment.

This demonstration will be held online on 23 June 2020, 2pm-3:30pm via Zoom, please register here.

Agenda of the web demonstration

1.    Offshore wind farm integration using MTDC networks
Demonstration of the operation of an MTDC network connecting offshore wind farms to shore using a power-hardware-in-the-loop

2.    Fault Clearing in HVDC Networks
Demonstration of DC-side fault clearing using (full-bridge based) fault-blocking converters and fault clearing based on DC circuit breakers and the PROMOTioN protection IED

3.    MMC Impedance Derivation
Demonstration of the MMC Test Bench online impedance measurement and comparison with simulation-based results

Due to the current pandemic crisis, the Horizon 2020 project PROMOTioN (Progress on Meshed HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks) has postponed its final event, which is now going to take place on 21 September 2020 as an online event.

The online conference North Sea Grid for the European Green Deal How to unlock Europe's Offshore Wind potential - a deployment plan for a meshed HVDC grid will feature high-level key notes and panel discussions with policy-makers, and experts from TSOs, the offshore wind- and HVDC sectors; final project findings and observations on technology, regulation, economics, and system planning as well as a deployment plan for the meshed HVDC grid. Technical and non-technical break-out sessions on conclusive findings will take place online from 24 August to 18 September 2020. More detailed information on the final programme and registration will be published by the end of June 2020 on the PROMOTioN Website.

> More information on the PROMOTioN website

WindEurope has partnered with seven leading industry companies as well as SolarPower Wurope to launch "Choose Renewable Hydrogen", a joint initiative highlighting the crucial role of renewables to ensure economic recovery and effective climate policy in the European Union. 

The initiative urges that Europe prioritises the most efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective pathways to decarbonise its economy. Direct electrification will be the primary means for decarbonising heating and road transport, but there are other hard-to-abate sectors – such as  some heavy industry, long-haul road transport, aviation, and shipping – where direct electrification is insufficient. Here renewable hydrogen will play a key role as the most cost-effective and sustainable solution for full decarbonisation.

Moreover, the signatories have penned an open letter to the Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, to prioritise renewable energy and hydrogen technologies.

> Further information about the initiative

> Read the open letter

> Read the press release by WindEurope