High-level representatives of eight countries in the Baltic and the European Commission have signed a joint declaration to accelerate the buildout of offshore wind capacity in the region.
Among the signatories of the Baltic Sea Offshore Wind Declaration, which was signed at a conference hosted by the Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW), were Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
The countries jointly committed to the expansion of offshore wind in the Baltic and want to foster mutual collaboration in the context of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP).
They plan to collaborate in areas such as hybrid offshore wind projects, smart grids, energy system integration and digitalization. According to the declaration, the eight countries will also develop coordinated approaches to maritime planning, taking into account other uses of the sea space and environmental protection.
WindEurope deputy chief executive Malgosia Bartosik said, “Today’s declaration marks another milestone for the energy transition in Poland and in the whole Baltic region.
“Governments put faith in Europe’s cheap, efficient and reliable offshore wind technologies. They acknowledge that wind energy can be a motor of Europe’s recovery from Covid-19, ensuring long-term growth and jobs. The collaborative spirit of today’s declaration should also feature in the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy.”
The declaration says that offshore wind energy is ‘essential’ in reaching national and international climate and energy targets. In its scenarios for a climate neutral Europe by 2050, the European Commission wants to increase offshore wind from 23 GW today to up to 450 GW.
Today, most of Europe’s offshore wind capacity is installed in the North Sea. According to WindEurope, the North Sea will remain the core of European offshore wind installations with 212 GW of capacity by 2050. But the Baltic could host 93 GW by 2050, up from today’s 2.2 GW. The economic opportunities linked to this expansion are massive.
WindEurope chair Philippe Kavafyan said, “Collaboration among Baltic countries will be key to unlocking the 93 GW potential of offshore wind energy by 2050.
“Attending in person here in Stettin, witnessing the signing of this historic declaration, gives me great confidence that there is a real commitment from governments around the Baltic to work together, at the regional level, on an ambitious plan covering maritime spatial planning, infrastructure investments and the just transition of the workforce.”
Most of the most countries presented ambitious plans for offshore wind development, but Poland stands out. The country aims to become the leader in offshore wind development in the region, with a target of 28 GW in 2050. This would represent around a third of all offshore wind installations in the Baltic at that time.
PSEW deputy chief executive Kamila Tarnacka said, “Poland can build a new sector of the economy around its emerging wind industry and become specialised in manufacturing components for offshore wind turbines.
“We hope that offshore wind will become Poland’s primary export industry and for Polish companies to be strong links in the international supply chain for offshore wind.”
The BEMIP high-level group has been tasked with implementing the Baltic Sea Offshore Wind Declaration. The group will draft a work programme for offshore wind development in the region that takes national policies set out in the National Energy and Climate Plans as well as EU policy developments into account. The presentation of this programme is planned for the first half of 2021.