Energy ministers from North Seas countries met this week to finalise their 2020 Work Programme for offshore wind energy production.
The meeting, held in Brussels, was attended by representatives of the 10 countries involved in the North Seas Energy Co-operation partnership: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. The 2020 Work Programme details the partner countries’ intention to collaborate on a range of maritime energy endeavours, including spatial planning, co-ordinating energy grids; and the development of offshore wind farms.
The North Seas member countries have announced their intention to evaluate the efficacy of ‘hybrid’ offshore wind farms, which provide energy to the grids of multiple countries; with a view to boosting international co-ordination on expanding cross-border wind energy provision. They also plan to work more closely on maritime spatial planning and collaborate further to fully optimise the potential of wind energy for all participants.
A report published last week by wind energy industry body WindEurope indicated that targeted investment in offshore wind production could support the EU in reaching its long term decarbonisation targets: the European Commission has set a provisional goal of producing between 230GW and 450GW of offshore wind energy by 2050. WindEurope’s report stated that increasing Europe’s wind energy capacity from the current rate of 20GW to 450GW within this timeframe would be possible, conditional on significant international co-operation and forward planning.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “Up to 380 GW of offshore wind is doable in the North Seas by 2050 if countries collaborate effectively on maritime spatial planning, grid investments and hybrid offshore projects. The North Seas countries realise that and are taking concrete steps to make these big volumes happen. It’s great to see this reinforced commitment from Governments on offshore wind – and to see them widening and deepening the scope of their work together. This is Europe at its best; and a great example for other regions, in particular the Baltic, to follow.”