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Cooperation, R&D, digitalisation ‘key’ for Baltic Sea’s 93 GW potential, industry leaders say

During this year’s Baltic Windustry Conference in Gdańsk, industry experts and business leaders discussed the role that cooperation, research and development (R&D) and digital transformation, including the rise of artificial intelligence, will – and are already playing – in the development of offshore wind in the Baltic Sea.

In addition to the 18 gigawatts (GW) of capacity that is estimated to come from Poland’s current offshore wind power development sites by 2020, 20 new potential sites could be made available which would deliver an additional estimated capacity of over 17.7 GW, said Polish Wind Energy Association (PWEA)’s Piotr Czopek, sharing PWEA’s recent study during a “Policy and Financing” panel.

The potential of the whole Baltic Sea in offshore wind is estimated at around 93 GW, of which over 30 per cent lies in Poland, Mr Czopek noted, adding: “Offshore wind is developing really quickly in Europe – together we can meet the EU’s expected GW targets.” He noted that alongside administrative simplification and new regulations, cooperation among Baltic Sea countries is key to harnessing Poland’s offshore wind potential.

In a keynote speech, Maciej Kiełmiński Chief Expert at Poland’s Ministry of Education and Science noted that the current geopolitical context is an opportunity for Poland to seize on its untapped potential in R&D. In recent years, Poland has seen a dynamic growth in R&D expenditure, he noted, increasing from 0.5 per cent in 2010 to 1,44 per cent in 2021.

Providing an industry’s perspective on cooperation with academia during a “Research and Digitalisation” panel, Arkadiusz Sekściński CEO of PGE Baltica emphasised that his company is “very open” to cooperation, but the key to successful cooperation is to look at the perspectives of all the sides. “Our perspective is very much business orientated: how can you help us achieve these goals. Added value is key,” he said.

On the same panel, Marie Renner Head of Renewables at EDF R&D UK Center said that “digitisation is key for us – it can serve to help monitor our operations, for example, on floating offshore wind platforms.” She also emphasised that remote monitoring can help reduce the carbon footprint of wind farms with fewer staff needed on site, as well as saving time and costs. In the long term, Ms Renner noted that her company are also interested in using AI in their operations.

In terms of academic cooperation, Ms Renner said that the EDF R&D UK Center actively cooperates with academic partners which includes many collaborative projects with academic institutions. “We hope we can create more academic links with Polish partners,” she noted.

The Baltic Windustry Conference took place on 12 September and was jointly organised by the Polish Wind Energy Association and the Gdańsk University of Technology.

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