A Ministerial Meeting of the North Sea Energy Cooperation (NSEC)* on 6 July 2020 reinforced the need for a European approach to future offshore wind development
Ministers of the NSEC countries in a joint declaration agreed on the key role of offshore wind energy in achieving Europe’s climate targets for 2050. They see an increasing need for joint and hybrid projects, co-ordinated maritime spatial planning and the alignment of technical standards. Alongside the Ministers, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson took part in the meeting.
The participants outlined the enormous contribution the NSEC countries could make to meet the 2050 offshore expansion targets by accelerating the implementation of cross-border offshore wind projects.
Cross-border projects have the potential to significantly reduce the costs of new projects and improve the use of maritime space.
The joint statement lists current barriers to cross-border and hybrid projects and shows ways to remove these barriers through European collaboration. These include different regulations on seabed use in different countries, different auction designs, a potentially unbalanced distribution of costs and benefits among the participating Member States and competing interests in the use of scarce offshore space. It also includes measures to facilitate the integration of large amounts of offshore wind energy into the European energy markets and to co-ordinate European offshore grid development.
WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson made a short presentation of WindEurope’s position on how to achieve 450 GW offshore wind energy in Europe by 2050. This ambitious target, derived from the European Commission’s 1.5 TECH scenario for decarbonisation in 2050, requires offshore wind energy to grow by the factor of 20 from today’s 23 GW installed capacity.
In his presentation Mr Dickson said, “Europe wants much more offshore wind and wants it fast. Co-ordination between countries is vital to minimise costs. And governments also need to start developing joint or hybrid offshore wind projects that connect to more than one country. That way we optimise the infrastructure.”
In the second half of the year, the NESC will focus on further developing concrete proposals for hybrid projects, maritime spatial planning and offshore grid planning, and a long-term vision for the role of electricity generation from renewable energies in the offshore sector up to 2050, including the role of hydrogen.
Commissioner Simson described offshore wind as a form of renewable energy “that it set to play a vital role helping to attain climate neutrality by 2050.”
During the meeting, Commissioner Simson said, “Today’s meeting is about putting the European Green Deal into action. Only by stronger cross-border co-operation, such as between the North Seas countries, will we be able to sufficiently scale up renewable energy production and make Europe the first climate neutral continent.”
The Commissioner also outlined forthcoming initiatives under the European Green Deal, notably the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, foreseen for later this year. OWJ is running a series of articles on the strategy with input from industry leaders highlighting what they see as the most important elements of such a strategy that they would like to see included in it. The first of the series can be found here, here and here. This page will be updated with links to additional articles on the subject.
*The North Sea Energy Cooperation (NSEC) is a regional forum of energy co-operation between Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. It aims to facilitate the development of offshore wind in the North Sea and the integration of large amounts of offshore wind energy into the European energy markets.
In June, Riviera held a series of webinars on offshore wind. These are available to view in our webinar library