Business World of Renewable Energy

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Nine European Countries Agree: North Sea to Become Europe's Green Power Plant With 120 GW Offshore Wind Capacity by 2030

Ostend, Belgium - In Ostend, Belgium, the heads of state and government and the energy ministers of nine countries have agreed on closer cooperation in the utilization of offshore wind energy in the North Sea. By 2030 alone, the installed offshore wind power capacity is initially to increase to 120 GW (120,000 MW), and the further utilization potential is enormous.

In the current Ostend Declaration, it is agreed to develop "hybrid" offshore cooperation projects to create connections between offshore wind farms in different countries and use them for international electricity transport. The declaration also ultimately represents an extension of the cooperation based on the Esbjerg Declaration last 2022, which was signed by the countries of Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

Nine countries in Europe agree: Offshore wind power capacity in the North Sea will increase to 120 GW by 2030 and to 300 GW by 2050

At the current "North Sea Summit" in Ostend, the heads of state and government and the energy ministers of Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Ireland, Great Britain, France and Luxembourg were represented. The nine countries bordering the North Sea have set overall expansion targets for the use of offshore wind energy of around 120 GW by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050. At the same time, according to German Economics Minister Habeck, cooperation on the future production of green hydrogen by offshore wind turbines and the expansion of hydrogen infrastructure in the region will be strengthened.

With an installed offshore wind power capacity in the North Sea of 120 GW in 2030, an annual electricity generation of around 500 billion kWh of electricity can be expected arithmetically; with 300 GW, this corresponds to 1,200 billion kWh of electricity. The latest generation of offshore wind turbines with a capacity of around 15 MW each will be used.

Hybrid offshore projects: New EU rules needed to make effective use of wind power

Common electricity market rules at EU level are needed to make power generation in the North Sea effective. This is the only way to realize hybrid offshore projects that cross national borders. Therefore, to enable effective integration of wind power into the grids, a fair cost-benefit sharing between the countries involved is necessary. The importance of financing instruments and acceleration of approval procedures at the EU level is also highlighted.

Power generation: Construction of new nuclear power plants too slow compared to offshore wind - maximum of 3 new nuclear units by 2030 in Europe

The expansion of renewable energies can be realized much faster than the construction of new nuclear power plants. Currently, there is only one nuclear power plant under construction in the EU (Flamanville, France) with a gross capacity of 1,650 MW (under construction since 2007). After completion, this nuclear power plant will produce an average of about 10 billion kWh of electricity annually.

Assuming that the British nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C with the two nuclear units and a gross capacity of 3,260 MW will also be commissioned in this decade, the nuclear power generation by the two plants (without taking into account expected nuclear power plant closures) will only increase by another approx. 23 billion kWh of nuclear power annually. The commissioning of further planned French nuclear power plants is not expected before 2035, even if construction starts immediately, due to the very long construction times in France as well.

Source: IWR Online, 29 Apr 2023