European Leaders Discuss North Sea Offshore Wind Expansion


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Today in Ostend, nine heads of state and government will convene with the president of the EU Commission to discuss new obligations regarding the expansion of offshore wind in the North Seas. The summit of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands at Esbjerg last year serves as a precedent for this one. Today, the UK, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, and those four countries are joined by the other six. More than 100 companies representing the entire offshore wind and renewable hydrogen value chain in Europe have released an industry declaration outlining what the nine governments must do now to achieve their offshore wind goals.

To agree on additional pledges regarding offshore wind in the North Seas, the heads of state and government of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK are meeting today in Ostend. Along with more than 100 CEOs from companies throughout the offshore wind value chain, they are joined by the President of the European Commission, the Energy Commissioner of the EU, and the corresponding national Energy Ministers. The North Seas Energy Summit is by far the largest political gathering to ever take place. Making Europe’s North Seas a hub for renewable energy is the plan.

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Increasing offshore wind capacity is necessary. But it also entails creating the future offshore wind grid. Offshore wind farms now distribute renewable electricity to a single onshore landing point via point-to-point links to the shore. Future hybrid offshore wind farms will transport their electricity to numerous markets while acting as a conduit between nations. The distribution of power will be more effectively improved, supply security will be increased, offshore wind will be more affordable, and the impact on marine biodiversity will be lessened with a linked and mesh offshore wind grid.

The nine Governments’ desire to increase their offshore wind goals at today’s North Sea Summit is welcomed by more than 100 enterprises, who represent the whole value chain of offshore wind and renewable hydrogen in Europe. The Industry Declaration emphasises the urgent need to increase Europe’s capacity for producing wind energy. The signatories emphasise that an increase in offshore wind in the North Seas must be achieved in Europe in order to meet the continent’s net-zero ambitions.

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Governments in the North Sea region are aware that significant new investments in wind energy production capacity and associated infrastructure are required to make this a reality. The recently introduced Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA) in the EU is a significant first step. Powering Up Britain aims to achieve net-zero emissions, energy security, and investments in the UK.

The Industry Declaration also discusses industrial strategy, power market design, auction design, and finance mechanisms. To get the capital needed to realise Europe’s offshore wind objectives, all of these are essential. No offshore wind farm will have made a final investment decision by 2022. Investments were discouraged by uncoordinated market interventions, price limits, and national clawback policies. Governments must regain investor trust by designing their markets to support a mix of Contracts-for-Difference, Power Purchase Agreements, and merchant projects.

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