6 Energy system mapping and modelling

Mapping and modelling energy systems

The focus of earlier phases of the North Sea Energy programme was on quantifying the technical-economic potential of offshore wind energy, electrification of natural gas production and hydrogen production at a national level. This, as well as possible scenarios and spatial limitations, is visualised in the online North Sea Energy Atlas, which was developed for this purpose.

The potential of alternative energy technologies - such as geothermal energy and wave and tidal energy - has not yet been explored in the context of North Sea Energy system integration. It is expected that large-scale energy storage will be needed to balance the strong fluctuations in production versus demand. The offshore development potential of this has not yet been evaluated and integrated into the Atlas.

Research into spatial potential for alternative technologies for renewable energy production in the North Sea

Analysis of the energy system

The rapidly increasing production of wind energy and hydrogen in the North Sea will impact the system - transportation, balance between supply and demand - and the market - pricing of energy raw materials. In turn, this will also have an impact on the onshore energy system in Northwest Europe. The development of onshore wind and solar energy, and developments in industry, mobility and the demand for heat in homes, are critical factors for system and market integration. The development of onshore hydrogen can provide an alternative, molecular route (in the form of hydrogen) for offshore wind energy to the onshore system and markets.

Consequently, there is a strong need to expand the Energy Atlas to include data from other North Sea countries. There is also a need for a functionality to let users compile their own maps with data and scenarios and to be able to modify them.

Research objectives

Research into the technical and spatial potential of alternative technologies for renewable energy production - such as geothermal energy and wave and tidal energy - and the identification of geographical locations for development.

Research into the technical-economic and spatial potential for large-scale offshore energy storage (in particular hydrogen and synthetic natural gas) in salt caverns and depleted gas fields.

Development of new perspectives and scenarios for the planning of the North Sea domain. These will include looking at the energy system and the market dynamics of offshore system integration in the context of the North-West European electricity and gas market (including future hydrogen).

Improve the Energy Atlas for data and scenario selection and look to improve its visualisation.

Research activities

  • Mapping the potential for offshore renewable energy production and the potential for offshore energy storage
  • Updating and expansion of the international energy atlas
  • Comprehensive integrated analysis of the North-West European energy system