North Seas Energy Ministers reinforce cooperation on offshore wind power

Energy Ministers from North Seas countries met on December 4th in Brussels and agreed their 2020 Work Programme on offshore wind energy deployment as a means of reaching climate neutrality by 2050.

The 10 North Seas Energy Cooperation countries – Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK – agreed at their Ministerial meeting in Esbjerg in June 2019 to broaden the scope of their cooperation.  Their 2020 Work Programme now elaborates what they intend to do together on maritime spatial planning, electricity grids and developing hybrid and joint offshore wind farms.

The 10 countries have committed to assessing the current framework for offshore wind farms that have a grid connection to more than one country and identifying possible obstacles. Such “hybrid” projects will be key in pooling assets and infrastructure together and reduce the costs of deploying offshore wind turbines.

The countries have also recognised that space in the North Seas is “finite” and will collaborate on maritime spatial planning to “be able to utilise the energy potential of the North Seas”. The countries will better coordinate the planning and development offshore (and onshore) electricity grid expansion in order to facilitate the expansion of offshore wind energy. And will develop “concrete plans” for potential joint cross-border offshore wind farms that “generate benefits for all participating parties”.