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North Sea offshore wind to help repower the EU

offshore wind

Photo courtesy of Orsted.

Today, 18 May, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will participate in an Offshore Wind Summit with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the Belgian Prime Ministers Alexander De Croo, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

In a joint declaration they are set to highlight the role of home-grown North Sea offshore wind in strengthening the EU’s energy security. The event coincides with the presentation of the EU’s REPowerEU Action Plan which will also underline the central role of wind energy. They will meet today in the Port of Esbjerg (Denmark), one of Europe’s leading offshore wind ports. They will sign a declaration on a common vision for offshore wind and related infrastructure in the North Sea. The Summit takes place on the very same day the EU presents the REPowerEU Action Plan, its strategic plan to wean Europe off Russian fossil fuel imports and accelerate the expansion of renewables. Ms Von der Leyen’s presence in Esbjerg underlines how central the expansion of wind energy is for Europe’s energy system.

To strengthen Europe’s energy security, REPowerEU wants wind energy to grow from 190GW today to 480GW 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. Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO, says, “It’s fantastic that the four EU North Sea Heads of Government and the European Commission President are coming together in Denmark to make new commitments on offshore wind. And that they’re doing so the very day the EU launches its big REPowerEU action plan to transform Europe’s energy system. But the new commitments on wind will only be delivered if Europe has a viable wind energy supply chain and if it simplifies the permitting of wind farms. Good things are now happening on the latter. But the former needs major attention: Europe’s five turbine manufacturers are all operating at a loss today.”

To reach climate neutrality by 2050 offshore wind needs to grow from 15GW in the EU today to 300GW by 2050. Over the same period the EU wants onshore wind to grow from 173GW to 1,000GW. The European wind industry will continue to ensure the expansion of offshore and onshore wind goes hand in hand with the protection of biodiversity and in dialogue with local communities and other stakeholders.