Juan Gea-Bermúdez, Lena Kitzing, Matti Koivisto, Kaushik Das, Juan Pablo Murcia León, Poul Sørensen
Offshore grids can play key roles in the transition of energy systems toward sustainability. Although they require extensive infrastructure investments, they allow for the exploitation of additional resources and may be important in providing for part of the increasing electricity demands driven by sector coupling. This paper quantifies the socioeconomic value of offshore grids and identifies their major drivers, performing energy system optimization in a model application of the northern–central European energy system and the North Sea offshore grid towards 2050. The increasing wake loss with the sizes of hub-connected wind farms is integrated in the modeling. We find that without sector coupling no offshore grid may develop, and that the higher the level of sector coupling, the higher the value of offshore grids. Therefore, it can be strongly stated that offshore grid infrastructure development should not be discussed as a separate political topic, but seen in connection to sector coupling.