The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Denmark sign offshore wind declaration

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Prime Ministers of Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands met in the Port of Esbjerg to sign a declaration on a shared vision for offshore wind and related infrastructure in the North Sea.

This coincides with the presentation of the EU’s REPowerEU Action Plan, which will also emphasize wind energy’s central role. REPowerEU wants wind energy to increase from 190 GW to 480 GW by 2030 in order to strengthen Europe’s energy security. This necessitates permitting simplification and coordinated action to strengthen Europe’s wind energy supply chain. Massive investments are also required in offshore grid infrastructure, port facilities, and vessels.

To achieve climate neutrality by 2050, offshore wind capacity in the EU must increase from 15 GW today to 300 GW by 2050. During the same time period, the EU expects onshore wind to increase from 173 GW to 1000 GW. The European wind industry will continue to work with local communities and other stakeholders to ensure that the expansion of offshore and onshore wind goes hand in hand with biodiversity protection.

Green power plant

The heads of state of the four countries signed a declaration in which they expressed their ambitions for offshore wind in the North Sea. In the declaration, the countries decided to jointly develop the North Sea as Europe’s green power plant. This is an offshore renewable energy system linking Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands and possibly other North Sea partners, including the members of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC).

The green energy system will consist of several interconnected offshore energy projects and hubs, large-scale offshore wind energy production and electricity and green hydrogen interconnectors.

Offshore wind and hydrogen target

The four countries have set combined offshore wind energy targets of at least 65 GW by 2030. Assuming the North Sea as Europe’s green power centre, the countries together aim to more than double total offshore wind capacity to at least 150 GW by 2050. This is more than half of the capacity needed to achieve EU climate neutrality in line with the European Commission’s strategy on offshore renewable energy sources.

This will also contribute to large-scale onshore and offshore production of green hydrogen. The countries have combined targets of about 20 GW of production capacity by 2030 and want to expand this further by 2050.

Practical steps

The energy ministers also signed a declaration in which they set out, among other things, the first practical steps to jointly realise the North Sea as Europe’s green energy hub.

These include the offshore wind objectives per country, plans for energy islands, for example near Denmark and near Belgium, and the connection between them. Denmark and the Netherlands will consider how to connect the energy island near Denmark to a Dutch energy hub, including prospects for offshore green hydrogen production. The two countries signed a separate declaration for this.

The countries will start planning for more energy hubs and islands by screening the potential for offshore wind energy, and where relevant green hydrogen production, in the whole North Sea area.

20-05 update

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