Governments, industry and TSOs join forces to fast forward offshore wind

Offshore Wind

25 parties have signed a statement outlining their commitment to work together for the accelerated deployment of offshore wind in Europe at Wind Europe‘s 2022 Annual Event in Bilbao.

Europe is moving towards an even faster expansion of renewables as part of its response to the Ukraine crisis. The European Union (EU) has asked for an additional 30 GW of wind energy by 2030 to help replace a significant part of Russian fossil fuel imports well before the end of this decade. It is hoped that accelerating offshore wind will maximise the benefits for European consumers, strengthen the security of supply, and help drive decarbonisation of the economy and society.

The EU had already established ambitious targets for offshore wind, which called for 60 GW by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050. Together with the UK and Norway, Europe could have up to 450 GW of offshore wind in operation by 2050.

The Governments of Spain, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Estonia, alongside the TSOs National Grid Ventures, Elia, 50Hz, Tennet, LitGrid, and wind industry representatives pledged to collaborate, cooperate and coordinate measures to support offshore wind deployment.

The signatories have committed to work together to provide a visible pipeline of offshore wind projects and hybrid interconnectors, and to remove regulatory and permitting barriers. They aim to coordinate the design of tenders and identify best practices in national support schemes, including the use of non-price criteria. They will also cooperate on identifying new areas for offshore wind build-out as part of national maritime spatial planning regimes.

They have also agreed to establish regulatory frameworks for offshore wind and offshore hybrid projects that secure a predictable long-term market environment and sustainable business models. This includes developing market arrangements for offshore hybrids that fairly distribute the costs and benefits between countries, TSOs and offshore wind farm developers.

Identify hybrid projects that can be deployed quickly is also a priority for the signatories. This will lead to more efficient deployment of infrastructure, optimise sea use, and protect the maritime environment, whilst reducing the impact on coastal communities. And stakeholders also support closer coordination in general planning infrastructure, and on- and offshore grid build-out.

The statement also called for the scale-up of innovation in technologies that enable better integration of offshore wind into the power grid, such as the interoperability of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology.

According to the statement, the European Commission must now support its implementation, which is line with the objectives set in the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy and the European response to the Ukraine crisis.

National Grid Ventures President Cordi O’Hara said: “This is a critical moment for the energy industry across Europe, including the UK and Norway. We need more offshore wind to strengthen the security of supply and drive decarbonisation, and we need new cutting-edge technologies like hybrid interconnectors to connect wind faster and cheaper. But we can only be successful if we work together. This is a fantastic step because the signatories of this statement collectively possess the resources, ambition, experience, and capabilities to make this happen for the benefit of all Europeans.”

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “Europe needs more than ever to tap into its wind energy resources to improve its energy security. It is great that Governments, TSOs, and industry players want to double down on offshore wind to strengthen Europe’s energy security. Europe urgently needs visibility on offshore wind volumes, a coordinated approach to grid planning, and the right regulatory framework for new business models such as offshore hybrids to take off.”

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