Offshore wind agreement signed by 9 EU countries

A total of 9 northern European countries have signed an agreement on enhanced cooperation within the offshore wind sector, in a deal which aims to reduce the costs and accelerate the deployment of wind power at sea through joint development and purchasing.

Government Energy Ministers from Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium gathered in Luxembourg today (6 June) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Work Programme which outlines a number of actions to help reduce costs in offshore wind, including collaboration on spatial planning, grids, finance, technical standards and regulation such as health and safety rules.

*CORRECTION: edie had previously reported that the UK was one of the countries to have signed this Memorandum of Understanding, as per the original press release we had received from WindEurope. We have since discovered that the UK has not signed this deal, and an altered press release has been issued by WindEurope, removing the UK from the list of countries that have signed.

Additionally, the MoU highlights the need to coordinate the timing of offshore wind tenders and explore options for joint support initiatives. The cooperation will make it easier for civil society organisations, universities, environmental organizations, network operators and companies to do business across borders apply for permits and receive grants.

WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson welcomed the news, saying: “The agreement signed in Luxembourg today is a major step forward to fully realise the potential of offshore wind in Europe.”

“It’s a good combination of top-down and bottom-up: top-down political commitment to take bottom-up practical action to reduce costs and facilitate the deployment of offshore wind.  We congratulate the Ministers for the ambition they’ve shown and the Dutch Presidency for having made this happen.  It’s a clear statement of intent that gives confidence to the offshore wind industry and will help drive further investments.”

‘Long-term market’

The agreement arrives on the same day that 11 leading energy companies including Statoil, Siemens and Vattenfall signed a declaration stating that offshore wind can reduce costs to 80 euros/MWh by 2025 with the right policy structure in place. In an open letter, the heads of major energy businesses called for transnational collaboration across the sector, insisting that the MoU commitment is only viable with a “stable, long-term market” for renewables in Europe.

The letter reads: “Renewables such as offshore wind are steadily displacing conventional forms of power generation. As costs come down rapidly, the wind industry continues to meet its commitments. We now urge Europe’s governments to work together to ensure offshore wind can be central to the continent’s energy mix in the years to come.”

The future of global offshore wind has received a significant boost due to a recent surge of investment from companies recognising the industry’s existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities. Last week, it was revealed that wind power investment experienced another record year in 2015, with more than 63 GW added – a 22% increase over the 2014 market – to a global total of around 433 GW.

In February, it was announced that the world’s largest offshore wind farm will be built 75 miles off the coast of Yorkshire, after Dong Energy made a FID on Hornsea Project One.

Norwegian fossil fuel giant Statoil revealed it is piloting an innovative battery storage system for offshore wind energy on the world’s first floating wind farm – the Hywind park off the coast of Aberdeenshire in Scotland. The Scottish Government granted consent for the 30MW offshore wind farm to be developed off the coast of Peterhead at the end of last year.

Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Statement

George Ogleby

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