As a response to the energy and security crisis following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as the climate crisis, four EU countries along with EU President Ursula von der Leyen had a vision for the North Sea as a “Green Power Plant” .
Europe is facing an energy crisis as well as the most serious security crisis since the Cold War. In response, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the European Commission gather at the North Sea Summit in the Danish city of Es-bjerg yesterday on 18 May 2022.The North Sea Summit highlights offshore wind as one of the keys to phase out fossil fuels in the EU.
Right after presenting the RePowerEU plan intended to wean Europe off Russian fossil energy, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Denmark to present the offshore wind agreement with heads of government from Denmark, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
They signed an agreement committing to a tenfold increase in offshore wind capacity by 2050, reaching at least 150 GW capacity. By 2030, the capacity will be quadrupled from the current state to reach at least 65 GW under the agreement. The countries commit to building at least one additional “energy island” – a large infrastructure project that works as a hub for energy production in the region. One is already planned.
Dan Jørgensen, Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Supply said ”The EU must become independent from Russian fossil fuels as fast as possible and the best way forward is for the European countries to work together to scale up and speed up the buildout of renewable energy in the North Sea. At this summit we will present some of the key solutions needed for Europe to make the ambitious transition to renewables and that is why I am looking very much forward to welcoming my fellow energy ministers in Esbjerg,”
The agreement sets out to deliver half of the offshore wind ambition in the European Commission’s Offshore Wind Strategy and could serve as inspiration for other member states of the EU as well as for countries around the world to present projects harnessing renewable energy for the green transition.
Christian Ibsen, CEO of Green think tank CONCITO (DK) said “Large amounts of green power are crucial for Danish and European climate action.
The need for green power is urgent, and will increase significantly in the coming years. Offshore wind is among the cheapest sources of electricity generation. As things stand, Denmark does not cover its electricity needs with green power, and with the major eletrification of transport, healing and industry underway, we need to significantly scale including harnessing the potential of the North Sea. And not only that, we can provide green power for millions of people in all of Europe, that can help Europe decarbonise. I am pleased that the four countries are now signing an agreement on wind in the North Sea. I only hope that the expansion will pick up speed so that we can exploit our green potential to the fullest as soon as possible.”
The agreement was signed in the city of Esbjerg, on the South West Coast of Denmark. The city is a major hub for shipping of offshore wind materials.
At the summit, the Heads of Government adopt a common vision for the North Sea as a Green Power Plant of Europe. Concretely, the Heads of Government sign a declaration that sets out the ambition to accelerate and increase the deployment of offshore wind and related infrastructure. The aim is to increase the aggregate capacity fourfold by 2030 and 10-fold by 2050, delivering at least half of the offshore wind needed to reach EU climate neutrality. Specifically, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have set ambitious combined targets of at least 65 GW offshore wind by 2030 and at least 150 GW by 2050. In order to put these increased ambitions into action, energy ministers sign a declaration that specifies how to intensify the ongoing regional cooperation with a view towards establishing new energy islands and hubs in the North Sea.
The accelerated and increased buildout of offshore wind can contribute to ramp up electrification of transport, industry and heating and enable large-scale production of green hydrogen as well as green fuel for shipping and aviation. In this way, the summit delivers on the European Commission’s REPowerEU plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels.
The North Sea Summit recognises the key role of private stakeholders. As develop-ers of massive offshore projects and as leaders in the transformation of the de-mand-side, e.g. from gas to new sustainable fuels in heavy industry, shipping and aviation, the industry are crucial to phase out fossil fuel. Therefore, industry executives from across the value chain participate in a business conference that inaugurates the North Sea Summit.
The writer of this article is Dr. Seema Javed, a known Environmentalist, Journalist and Communications Expert