News from AAU Energy

The Energy Islands: A Mars Mission for the Energy System

The Energy Islands: A Mars Mission for the Energy System

In 2020, the Danish Parliament decided to develop and build two energy islands: one near Bornholm in the Baltic Sea and another as an artificial island in the North Sea. Three researchers from AAU and DTU have just published the white paper "Energy Islands - a Mars mission for the Danish energy system". On six pages they discuss how we best build, secure, operate and expand energy islands, with special focus on the energy island in the North Sea.

The researchers present their recommendations in the White Paper and discuss barriers and opportunities with industry in three webinars. First webinar will be on 27.9. (Read more about the webinars and the possibility of registration at the bottom).

In particular, research sees three issues:

The construction of two fully functional energy islands by 2033 can for three primary reasons be equated with a “Mars mission” for the Danish energy system. Firstly, there is a significant gap between the available cost-effective technologies and those needed to realize the vision of the energy islands. Secondly, new operational models for innovation in the public / private sector are needed to design, plan, build and operate the islands cost-effectively and reliably. Thirdly, the islands will be the production and test infrastructure for the change that will transform the energy system in Denmark and globally in the coming decades, when we approach 100% independence from fossil fuels in 2050.

From a research point of view, the three issues raise questions such as:

• How do we design the electrical systems on offshore energies so that they are reliable, safe and robust against known and unknown threats, including cyber security and severe weather at sea?

• How do we expand the energy system in a safe, smooth, robust and efficient way?

• How do we operate, control and balance an energy system that is 100% based on renewable energy and therefore has no conventional inertia that can balance the grid if an unforeseen event occurs suddenly - for example a drop in energy production or a fault on a high voltage line.

• How do we anticipate and prevent technical failures that could cause more GW of wind power in the North Sea to disappear from the grid, thus potentially obscuring the entire European electricity system?

• How do we integrate offshore energy in the Danish energy system? This involves both a technical integration of the energy island's electricity and possible gas production in the interconnected energy system of the future, but also the electricity markets where electricity and gas are to be sold at home and abroad.

- It is a very exciting journey we are on with electrifying most of the energy system (with power electronics as the enabling technology) - and the Energy Islands are important opportunities for research and innovation. The white paper highlights that as well as the challenges faced – In my opinion – we are on a real mission here – which needs a lot of attention, says Professor Frede Blaabjerg.

Download the white paper in English here


Professor Frede Blaabjerg, e-mail:, mobile.: +45 2129 2454.

Full list white paper authors:

Frede Blaabjerg (AAU Energy)
Nicolaos A. Cutululis (DTU)
Jacob Østergaard (DTU)
Claus Leth Bak (AAU Energy)
Filipe Miguel Faria da Silva (AAU Energy)
Xiongfei Wang (AAU Energy)
Mattias Anderson (DTU)
Hjörtur Jóhansson (DTU)
Birte Holst Jørgensen (DTU)

Three webinars follow up with views from industry and the State

The above-mentioned and other relevant questions/angles are discussed in the white paper and are followed by three webinars, where research, industry and the state discuss challenges and opportunities.

#1 webinar: Energy Islands - A Mars mission for the Danish energy system

27. September 2021, 13:00-14:30

Keynote speakers:

Mads Krogh, Head of Division, (VE, Energy islands) Danish Energy Agency - The energy islands, the mission and its challenges
Nicolaos A. Cutululis, Professor, DTU Wind Energy - Key messages of the White Paper

Moderator: Glenda Napier, CEO, Energy Cluster Denmark. In the panel: Poul-Jacob Vilhelmsen, Chief Project Manager, Energinet, Mads Krogh, Head of Division, Danish Energy Agency, Jacob Østergaard, Professor, DTU Electrical Engineering.

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#2 webinar: Energy islands as test infrastructure for tomorrows’ energy system

27. October 2021, 14:30-16:00

Keynote speakers:

Christian Frank Flytkjær, Senior Manager, Grid Analysis, Energinet - Energy islands, the mission and its technical challenges
Jacob Østergaard, Professor, Head of Center for Electric Power and Energy, DTU Electrical Engineering Energy -  Islands as production and test facility

Moderator: Kristine van het Erve Grunnet, Managing Director Renewables, Danish Energy. In the panel: Troels Stybe Sørensen, Senior Director, Ørsted, Adrian Timbus, Head of Portfolio, Hitachi ABB Power Grids, Christian Frank Flytkjær, Senior Manager, Energinet, Nicolaos A. Cutululis, Professor, DTU Wind Energy.

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#3 webinar: Global cooperation and potential for green growth

30. November, 13:00-14:30 

Keynote speakers:

Frede Blaabjerg, Professor AUU Energy  - International cooperation on transforming the power system
Barbara O'Neill, Researcher, National Renewable energy Laboratory (NREL) - Global cooperation and G-PST

Moderator: Birte Holst Jørgensen, DTU Wind Energy. In the panel: Peter Marcussen, Director, Energinet, Anton Beck, Director Global Cooperation, Danish Energy Agency, Susanne Pedersen, Director, UNEP DTU Partnership, Barbara O'Neill, Researcher, NREL, Frede Blaabjerg, Professor, AAU.

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