Offshore wind cabling and interconnectors traditionally have been totally separate markets for submarine power cables.  But with the proliferation offshore wind farms in Europe, these segments of the market are no longer as compartmentalized as they were before. 

As more wind farms are built, grid operators are realizing that their offshore wind cabling infrastructures are getting closer and closer to each other.  Connecting them not only helps provide resiliency in the network but creates the grid interconnections that are so necessary in Europe today. 

In the latest indication of this, TenneT, the Dutch grid operator and a major offshore wind developer, has proposed several offshore wind connections that would also create grid interconnectors. 

TenneT is calling for western German North Sea wind farms to be linked to the Dutch electricity grid in the future. One such cost-effective solution could be a connection to Eemshaven. Because this grid connection point is located directly on the coast, it would be possible to save 100 kilometers of underground cables in Germany and thus around 200 million euros, while at the same time bypassing bottlenecks in the German electricity grid on land.

The necessary legal certainty could be achieved through a German-Dutch Treaty, which would stipulate that German wind farms will continue to be subject to German and offshore liability regulations.

In the Netherlands, TenneT is already investigating to connect to the UK by linking the future "Ijmuiden Ver" and "East Anglia" wind farms with a short cable, creating an interconnector between the two countries.

In in terms of offshore wind cabling in the German North Sea, TenneT currently has ten offshore grid connection systems (export cables) with a total capacity of 5,332 megawatts (MW) for transmitting wind energy from sea to land. As such, TenneT has now achieved more than 82% of the federal government’s expansion target of achieving 6,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacities by 2020. By the end of 2023, TenneT will successively complete three additional grid connection systems, which will provide 8,032 MW of transmission capacity in the North Sea.

By 2027, three more connections will be prepared by TenneT or will be pending further commissioning according to the preliminary design of the land development plan of the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH). This will increase the transmission capacity in the German North Sea to almost 11,000 MW.