Leaders of Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia Poland, Finland and Sweden met yesterday at the Baltic Sea Energy Security Summit to discuss how to move away from Russian energy as soon as possible and boost renewable energy capacity.
Tapping into the region’s wind power potential could largely contribute to the EU’s energy security and take the continent closer to its target of 300 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power by 2050.
The Baltic sea countries agreed that the target will be increased from the current installed capacity of just under 3 GW to almost 20 GW, which is in itself already one-third of the overall EU ambition for offshore wind by 2030.
“This is a historic agreement that will put significantly more green power into the Baltic Sea countries’ green transition, which is absolutely necessary if we are to both achieve our climate goals and ensure independence in our energy supply. This is a very ambitious step in the right direction, which must now be followed up by concrete action plans”, said Lars Sandahl Sørensen, CEO of the Confederation of Danish Industry.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who also attended the event welcomed the ambitious target and highlighted three points to further accelerate the investment in offshore wind.
She emphasised that hybrid projects should be the priority when planning interconnectors and offshore generation, which connect wind farms to more than one Member State, saving up to 10 per cent of the total project costs. She mentioned as a great example of cross-border cooperation the ELWIND offshore wind project between Estonia and Latvia.
The President of the Commission also urged rapid progress with grid network development plans, based on common offshore commitments. The Commission, with ENTSO-E, will prepare by September technical guidance to support this.
Finally, she also ensured the Baltic sea countries of the Commission’s political backing to accelerate the permitting. “We all know that this is one of the biggest bottlenecks. We have put forward a proposal on the table with REPowerEU,” she underlined adding that it is possible to fast-forward the permitting within one year.
The Confederation of Danish Industry also underlined that the permitting process for offshore wind must be accelerated to achieve the goal of 20 GW target by 2030, adding that today, it takes about nine years to build an offshore wind farm.