North Seas Summit focuses on offshore wind targets

Ministers and senior government representatives from the nine “North Seas” nations met with the EU Commission in Dublin.

Belgian, Irish, Danish, French, German, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Swedish are included in this list. They approved a statement that set new, ambitious goals for the development of offshore wind. They spoke on the specifics of how to achieve such quantities, paying particular attention to how to improve Europe’s offshore wind supply chain.

The nine nations committed to constructing 260 GW or more of offshore wind by 2050, with intermediate goals of 193 GW by 2040 and 76 GW by 2030.

That amounts to 85% of the EU’s current goal of 300 GW of offshore wind power by 2050. And 17 times greater than the whole capacity of offshore wind now used in the EU.

Following the recent Esbjerg Declaration, in which Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands committed to jointly develop 150 GW in their respective North Sea borders, the announcement was made.

Pay attention to supply chain constraints

One of the three main pillars of the European Union’s REPowerEU agenda, its energy policy response to Russia’s conflict in Ukraine, is a quicker deployment of renewable energy sources. One of the most cost-effective and scalable domestic power sources is offshore wind.

The European wind energy supply chain, however, is having trouble. Businesses are faced with unanticipated difficulties because of the economic impacts of the conflict in Ukraine, COVID19 supply chain problems, and high energy and transportation prices. The current scenario, where all five European turbine makers are experiencing losses, cannot continue and must be changed as quickly as possible.

NSEC Summit acknowledged how vital it is to improve Europe’s offshore wind supply chain. The Summit’s panel discussions focused on finding solutions to guarantee that Europe will continue to produce world-class offshore wind. Participants in the discussion agreed that non-price elements should be included in auctions for determining the best auction design for offshore wind. The NSEC Ministers are requesting that the European Commission expedite the release of its intended Guidance on non-price criteria. Negative bidding was also widely agreed to be the incorrect method for auctioning offshore wind.

The NSEC Ministers made it abundantly apparent that a number of obstacles, including lack of labor and infrastructure, prevent the aggressive growth of offshore wind in the North Seas. Europe will have to spend at least €6.5 billion to upgrade its port facilities. And it needs more staff that is well-trained in order to meet its offshore wind goals. Currently, 77 000 Europeans are employed in offshore wind. This number might reach 200.000 by 2030. Young people must be encouraged to pursue professions in offshore wind by the European Union and its Member States, who must also provide enough study and training opportunities to teach the necessary technical knowledge.

“The meeting with the energy ministers here in Dublin was incredibly beneficial. That they have concentrated on the wind energy supply chain is excellent. If it is to reach the offshore wind objectives set by the EU, its size must more than double. Governments must determine where, when, and how precisely they will develop these new offshore wind farms, according to Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, in order for this to happen.

Joint planning and international initiatives

Importantly, the NSEC nations want to work together to create the North Seas offshore grid. The next year, they will assist ENTSO-E in developing a comprehensive offshore network development strategy for 2050. This will involve ground-breaking international initiatives and so-called hybrid offshore wind farms.

In the next revisions of their separate National Energy and Climate Plans, the North Seas nations will create a new single NSEC chapter to improve the essential cross-border cooperation on offshore wind.

In keeping with the REPowerEU goal of the European Union, they also promised to expedite the approval of offshore wind projects. In this situation, a sea-basin approach to maritime spatial planning was deemed more important than offshore wind’s preferred locations.

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