Denmark has mapped areas in its swathes of the North and Baltic Seas for future stand-alone offshore wind farms and arrays connected to energy islands, with room for around 18GW of installation plant.

The report, carried out by consulting group COWI on behalf of the Danish Energy Agency (ENS), used ‘fine screening’ to identify four ‘green areas’ where individual offshore wind farms could be built that are closer to shore.

Those are North Sea I, a zone south of the future Thor wind farm (800MW to 1GW) that is slated to come online by 2027, Hesselø, a zone in the sea between the Danish mainland province of Jutland and Sweden, and Kriegers Flak II (North and South) in the Baltic Sea, in an area close to the 600MW Kriegers Flak project that is due in service in 2021.

The fine screening also marks ‘blue areas’ that are further offshore and could be linked to a future energy island in the North Sea (the North Sea II and III and the North Sea West II and III zones), and the island of Bornholm in the Baltic (the Bornholm I and II zones).

The purpose of the screening has been to confirm that it is practically possible to establish offshore wind farms with specific locations in the specified areas and to provide financial calculations for comparing the locations, ENS said.

“None of the screened areas are not recommended in the report for the establishment of offshore wind turbines due to unsuitable seabed, adverse environmental conditions or coincidence with human interests,” the agency said.

“However, it is recommended that in sub-areas of Bornholm and Kriegers Flak, a more detailed analysis of the sensitivity of selected bird species in relation to their impact in the production of offshore wind, should be carried out."

The results from the fine screening will form part of the further preparatory work on the development of offshore wind in Denmark, and are not firm plans to build wind farms yet.

Denmark in December had unveiled plans for one or more energy islands each supporting up to 10GW in offshore wind that would function as hubs for interconnected offshore wind, and supporting facilities such as energy storage or green hydrogen production.

Danish state-owned utility Orsted has plans for a 5GW offshore wind hub on the island of Bornholm to connect wind farms also in German, Polish and Swedish waters to which the Bornholm I and II areas now mentioned in the fine screening could be linked.

An energy island that could link the North Sea II and III, as well as the North Sea West II and III projects, would need to be artificial.

Other countries, notably the Netherlands, also have plans for energy islands, which could link offshore wind projects there to projects in various countries, such as the UK and Germany.