TenneT: offshore grid north of the Frisian Islands

One of the projects assessed this year with the Societal Value Tool was the offshore grid north of the Frisian Islands. The project will run over a number of years and addresses the entire process from feasibility (exploring alternatives and drawing up the natural resource damage and environmental impact assessments) to design. The aim of the project is to connect an offshore wind farm to the transformer station on land by means of two underground 220 kV cable systems.

It was noted that the project does not contribute to replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy as the wind farm development itself is not a component of it. In terms of SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), this energy project’s only positive impact is the number of people who will gain access to renewable energy: 700,000.

Also, our expert team responsible for the assessment expected a negative impact in relation to SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 15 (life on land). The analysis showed that a temporary disturbance of the systems in the Wadden Sea and agricultural land will indeed occur during the laying of cables, but this will be minimal because the most environmentally friendly variant has been chosen. Contrary to expectations, the project has a positive impact in relation to SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). This is the result of applying ‘fair’ nature-inclusive solutions for the cables and platform, and of collaborating with nature organisations on land. This Building-with-nature principle has a positive impact.