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    Reports: 4 European nations to build North Sea wind farms


    May 18, 2022 - By JAN M. OLSEN, Associated Press

     

      COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Four European Union countries plan to build North Sea wind farms capable of producing at least 150 gigawatts of energy by 2050 to help cut carbon emissions that cause climate change, Danish media reported Wednesday.

      Under the plan, wind turbines would be raised off the coasts of Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, daily Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten said.

      The project would mean a tenfold increase in the EU's current offshore wind capacity.

      “The North Sea can do a lot," Danish Prime Minister Frederiksen told the newspaper, adding the close cooperation between the four EU nations "must start now.”

      European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo are scheduled to attend a North Sea Summit on Wednesday in Esbjerg, 260 kilometers (162 miles) west of Copenhagen.

      In Brussels, the European Commission moved Wednesday to jump-start plans for the whole 27-nation EU to abandon Russian energy amid the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. The commission proposed a nearly 300 billion-euro ($315 billion) package that includes more efficient use of fuels and a faster rollout of renewable power.

      The investment initiative by the EU's executive arm is meant to help the bloc start weaning themselves off Russian fossil fuels this year. The goal is to deprive Russia, the EU’s main supplier of oil, natural gas and coal, of tens of billions in revenue and strengthen EU climate policies.

      “We are taking our ambition to yet another level to make sure that we become independent from Russian fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” von der Leyen said in Brussels when announcing the package, dubbed REPowerEU.

      The EU has pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 55% compared with 1990 levels by 2030, and to get to net zero emissions by 2050.

      The European Commission has set an overall target of generating 300 gigawatts of offshore energy of by 2050.

      Along with climate change, the war in Ukraine has made EU nations eager to reduce their dependency on Russian natural gas and oil. In 2021, the EU imported roughly 40% of its gas and 25% of its oil from Russia.

      At a March 11 summit, EU leaders agreed in principle to phase out Russian gas, oil and coal imports by 2027.

      Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

      Follow AP's coverage of climate change at https://apnews.com/hub/climate

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