Europe’s ports need significant investment if they are not to hold back the development of the continent’s offshore wind industry, a report from WindEurope finds
“To deliver the offshore wind expansion set out in the EU’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, Europe’s ports must expand and add new infrastructure,” said WindEurope. It estimates €6.5Bn (US$8Bn) of investment in port infrastructure will be needed by 2030 and believes the European Commission should develop a ports strategy.
“Ports are central to offshore wind,” WindEurope said. “All the turbines and equipment are transported through them. They’re the base for the operation and maintenance of offshore windfarms. They’re a magnet for much of the supply chain. And they’ll be a hub for the production and transport of renewable hydrogen from offshore wind.
“Europe is embarking on a huge expansion of offshore wind. From 25 GW today to more than 400 GW by 2050. Europe cannot deliver this without investments in port infrastructure, in heavy-loading quaysides, deep berths, supply chain and hydrogen infrastructure – and in that crucial commodity: space.”
Europe needs to invest €6.5Bn in ports now, just to deliver the offshore wind expansion planned for 2030, the report finds.
“Development of port infrastructure is commonly a matter for local, regional and national authorities, but given the strategic importance of ports to fulfilling the EU’s goals for offshore renewable energy, the European Commission should develop a strategy for the development of port infrastructure. And it should mobilise financial instruments to support the necessary investments,” the industry group said.
“At the same time governments should ensure that ports are reflected in their national recovery strategies. The €673Bn Recovery and Resilience Facility offers an unprecedented opportunity to make Europe’s ports fit for a green and renewable future.
WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson said “With growing volumes of offshore wind, ports are the perfect hubs for green energy. The offshore wind supply chain is often located in or around them. They are then integrated into wider industrial ecosystems. That’s why ports will play a key role in the decarbonisation of, for instance, chemicals and refineries in coastal industrial clusters – through the renewable energy for which they serve as a hub.
“Over the next decade ports will play a key role in upscaling Europe’s renewable hydrogen infrastructure. They are the natural location for electrolysers, and many electrolysis projects at ports are already being developed.
“Renewable hydrogen produced in ports can be stored locally and consumed in the local industrial ecosystem. It can also be used as a fuel for heavy-duty transport or further processed to ammonia to power the shipping sector.”
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