Germany prepares Europe’s first ‘photovoltaic island’ in an effort to eliminate dependence on Russian gas

Germany and Denmark plan to invest $9 billion in a photovoltaic island that does not involve long-term occupation of land that can be used for other productive purposes.

Not being located in the desert, most European nations have to accept a difficult trade-off whenever a new PV park is signed. Simply put, tracts of fertile land must be occupied for many years with installations that take them out of agricultural use, the loss then having to be compensated for using the gains from the photovoltaic “harvest”. At the end of the day, landowners who choose to use their land for ‘unconventional’ purposes have to reconcile the losses with the gains, and the benefits are far from guaranteed.

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As things stand today, the energy crisis is effectively doubled by another climate change-induced crisis, cancelling out the obvious benefits simply from technological progress.

The $8 billion project would be carried out in a Baltic Sea area, with the resulting photovoltaic energy covering the needs of 4.5 million homes. As this is a pilot project, output can be adjusted as needed by recalculating the final project size. Another cost that is not immediately apparent is the infrastructure needed to transport the generated energy out to sea. In this case, the project involves laying a 754-kilometre undersea cable linking Bornholm’s wind farms to the German grid, in a bid to reduce the region’s dependence on Russian oil and gas.

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Currently, Denmark and Germany have offshore wind power capacities of 1.5 gigawatts and 1 gigawatt in the Baltic Sea, accounting for more than 90% of the region’s wind power.

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