Meeting in The Hague this week at the annual North Seas Conference, eight EU countries plus Norway and the UK as a guest agreed to work on a shared action agenda that aims at moving towards an integrated energy system by 2050.
This will include strengthening supply chains and is a follow up to declarations made by these countries to develop what they are calling the largest source of sustainable energy in Europe.
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway all joined the meeting, with the UK attending as a guest.
Co-chairing the meeting, the Netherlands said national ambitions should be made European actions. The approach will include a collective tender plan by the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC).
The process will include a target to auction around 15GW every year, which means up to 100GW will be auctioned from now until 2030.
The aim is to facilitate better cooperation and coordination on cables, pipes, harbour infrastructure and access to resources.
“Europe’s energy mix is becoming cleaner and greener, and offshore renewables will have an indispensable part in the future energy mix,” said commissioner for energy Kadri Simon. “The North Sea is leading the way in their deployment, and has the potential to become europe’s green power plant.
“Our discussions showed the joint determination and commitment to continue the work to deliver on our offshore ambitions and to take the work forward to boost the competitiveness of this vital sector.”
“The development of offshore wind energy must take place in balance with other sea users and minimise negative ecological impact,” says a statement about the agreement. “Furthermore, the offshore wind sector increasingly experiences challenges such as high inflation and increased resource prices, limited availability of labour, and complex licensing systems.
“For a healthy offshore energy sector and an energy-independent Europe, closer cooperation amongst member states and the industry is required.”
Next January, the European network of transmission system operators for electricity will publish a shared plan for building infrastructure in the North Sea, with input from these countries.