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Deutsche Bucht is an offshore wind project in the German North Sea that produces enough energy to power 328,000 homes
Four countries plan to significantly increase the number of offshore wind farms in the North SeaImage: Tristan Stedman/MHI Vestas

4 EU countries pledge tenfold rise in wind power

May 18, 2022

Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark plan to build 150 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in the North Sea to help achieve the EU's climate goals and, eventually, break away from Russian energy.


Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark on Wednesday pledged to build at least 150 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in the North Sea by 2050.

The declaration, signed at an offshore wind summit in Denmark, came as Europe is also seeking to cut its short-term reliance on Russian energy imports amid the war in Ukraine

"This is not just a declaration, but the toolbox for what we have to do and will do in the coming period," said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who traveled to Denmark to sign the declaration.

Robert Habeck, Germany's vice chancellor and the economy minister, said the move would strengthen Europe's expansion of renewable energy "and thus further reduce dependence on gas imports."

Boosting cooperation

Habeck said the declaration was the "basis for the first truly European power plants."

"The projects are to be developed jointly, financed jointly and the electricity distributed jointly," Habeck told German broadcaster ZDF.

According to Habeck, the goal was "no longer for each country to do its own thing, but to approach this in a truly cooperative manner."

The wind turbines would be raised off the coasts of the four countries. The project would represent a tenfold increase in the EU's current offshore wind capacity.

This capacity would be enough to power 230 million European homes. The ambition is also to use the green power to make hydrogen and green fuels for heavy industries and transportation that cannot easily be directly electrified, Danish Business Minister Simon Kollerup said.

According to Denmark's Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jorgensen, the cost of installing 150 gigawatts of offshore wind power would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars and would be financed mainly by private investors with small state subsidies.

The European Commission targets 300 gigawatts of wind at sea by 2050, up from the roughly 16 gigawatts currently installed.

Supersized wind turbines

REPowerEU for €300 billion

Earlier on Wednesday, von der Leyen presented REPowerEU, the EU's plan to break away from Russian energy imports.

To reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels, Brussels is offering a three-pronged plan including a shift to importing more non-Russian gas, faster adoption of renewable energy, and greater energy-saving efforts.

The EU plan will cost up to €300 billion ($316 billion). According to von der Leyen, the sum will include approximately €72 billion in grants and €225 billion in loans.

The investments will include up to €10 billion for gas infrastructure, as well as up to €2 billion for oil infrastructure in view of stopping the shipment of Russian oil.

All the rest of the financing will go into speeding and scaling up the clean energy transition, von der Leyen said.

Guterres' five-point plan

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also released a five-point plan on Wednesday aimed at boosting investments in renewable energies.

"We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energy transition before we incinerate our only home," the UN chief said in his pre-recorded message. "Time is running out."

Guterres' plan focused on increasing the spread of renewable technologies, along with greater investments, as well as ending subsidies for fossil fuels.

He called for public and private investments in renewables to be tripled to at least $4 trillion (€3.8 trillion) a year.

dh/msh (AP, Reuters)

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