Renewables

Four countries pledge 150 GW of offshore wind in North Sea

Four countries pledge 150 GW of offshore wind in the North Sea

Photo: Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Published

May 19, 2022

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Published:

May 19, 2022

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Four European countries have announced 150 GW of offshore wind capacity in the North Sea by 2050. The announcement, made at an offshore wind summit in Denmark, supports the European Union’s (EU) ambitions to achieve energy security by increasing renewable energy sources, but WindEurope also notes that all five European wind turbine producers are currently operating at a loss.

Four EU countries, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, have pledged 150 GW of offshore wind capacity in their waters by 2050.

At the summit in Esbjerg, Denmark, top officials from four countries and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen signed a joint declaration on a common vision for offshore wind and associated infrastructure in the North Sea, WindEurope said.

Dickson: all five European wind turbine manufacturers are operating at a loss today

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said that the announcement of 150 GW of wind in the North Sea is fantastic news. But he also noted that new commitments can only be delivered if Europe has a viable wind energy supply chain and if it simplifies the permitting of wind farms. All five European wind turbine manufacturers are operating at a loss today, Dickson said.

Wind turbine manufacturers recognize problems

“Europe’s wind energy supply chain is in bad health. Costs for raw materials and components are increasing. Auction design is mainly cost-driven while risk is not well distributed along the value chain. The industry is struggling to be profitable. Abstract targets alone are not enough,” said Jochen Eickholt, CEO of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

Eickholt: Europe’s wind energy supply chain is in bad health. Costs for raw materials and components are increasing

Maritime spatial planning, the availability of an accessible seabed for both wind farms and grid infrastructure, as well as faster licensing for offshore wind, are key factors for increasing offshore wind energy, says Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind. He believes that Europe should simplify the rules and procedures for permitting new wind farms.

Peeters: we are evolving from building point-to-point connections to constructing energy hubs that are linked to hybrid interconnectors

“Electricity grids at sea are becoming increasingly complex. We are evolving from building point-to-point connections to constructing energy hubs that are linked to hybrid interconnectors. If offshore wind development is left to an uncoordinated country-by-country approach, a substantial part of Europe’s offshore wind potential will be left untapped,” said Chris Peeters, CEO of Elia Group.

Henrik Andersen, CEO of Vestas, says that with this announcement, decades of debate are transformed into decision-making. He notes that it is now essential to translate the targets into permits, and permits into projects, high-quality technology, and jobs.

Nipper: future challenges are not costs, but how to integrate large-scale variable energy into the power systems

Mads Nipper, CEO of Ørsted, notes that tenders for offshore wind farms must also ensure broader social value creation rather than focusing only on price. Future challenges are not costs, Nipper explains, but how to integrate large-scale variable energy into the power systems, and to provide and build it in harmony with nature.

Wind expansion both at sea and on land should go “hand in hand with the protection of biodiversity and in dialogue with local communities and other stakeholders,” the wind energy association said.

Wind is the key part of EU energy strategies

Energy from offshore wind farms should increase from 15 GW gigawatts, which is currently the capacity in the EU, to 300 GW by 2050, in order to achieve the set goals of climate neutrality by mid-century.

Onshore wind farms should grow from today’s 173 GW to 1,000 GW of capacity in the same period, according to the EU plan.

The summit in Denmark coincided with the presentation of the REPowerEU strategic plan on energy transformation and reduction of the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, which also underlines the central role of wind energy, said WindEurope.

Total EU wind energy should grow from 190 GW today to 480 GW in 2030

According to REPowerEU, in order to strengthen Europe’s energy security, total wind energy should grow from 190 GW today to 480 GW in 2030.

“This requires the simplification of permitting and concerted action to strengthen Europe’s wind energy supply chain. It also requires massive investments in offshore grid infrastructure, port facilities and vessels,” the association said.

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