The North Sea is set to become Europe's "green powerhouse" in the next 30 years, thanks to a boost from offshore wind energy, according to a commitment agreed today at a summit in the Danish city of Esbjerg by four countries.
The pact was drawn up by the heads of government of Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The four countries want to achieve production of 65 gigawatts (GW) in 2030 and, by 2050, 150 GW, which would mean multiplying by 10 the current capacity to supply electricity to 230 million European homes.
Read Also Read Brussels wants EU with 45% renewables by 2030 and more solar and hydrogen That figure would also equate to half the target set in wind power for that year by the European Commission, with the aim of making the continent emission-neutral.
The commitment is another step in European Union (EU) efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, especially from Russia, and promote the development of renewable energy to have greater energy resilience, as told in the so-called Esbjerg declaration.
"In Europe, we are facing some challenges that affect our economies and our security. This is an important step to address them," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen indicated at a joint press conference.
Also Read European Union with 210 billion plan by 2027 to be independent of Russian energy Mette Frederiksen, who hosted the summit, stressed the importance of working towards a more integrated energy system and contributing to a climate-neutral and energy security-neutral EU, ideas that also influenced European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, also present in Denmark today.
"The more interdependent we are in Europe, the more independent we will be from Russia," Von der Leyen said.
The European Commission president called the agreement a "very strong political commitment" and stressed that the time to increase investment in wind energy is "now."
The so-called "European green power plant" will consist of several connected offshore wind projects and centers, large-scale production, as well as interconnectors for green electricity and hydrogen.
"We aspire to a profitable construction of marine wind energy that will harness the potential of the North Sea in the most beneficial way for both the connected countries and the European Union as a whole," reads a statement.
The signatories open the door to other countries in the so-called North Sea Energy Cooperation (NSEC), which also includes France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden, in addition to the European Commission.
"It is not only a declaration, but also a toolbox for what we have to do and will do in the coming period," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stressed that this is a very precise commitment that seeks to "unlock the potential of the North Sea" and that it will contribute to lower energy prices, reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the energy dependency of some countries, and boost the wind industry.
The commitment announced today, which culminated in a small summit attended by the respective energy ministers and businessmen from the sector, coincided with the presentation in Brussels a few hours earlier of the "Repower EU" plan, which aims for the target of 45% renewable energy, 40% currently defined.
The plan presented in Brussels also aims for energy efficiency to reach 13%, up four points, and covers other objectives such as doubling installed solar photovoltaic capacity in the EU to 600 GW, doubling the deployment of heat and reaching 20 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030.
Brussels calculates that it will be necessary to invest 210,000 million euros over the next six years, up from 195,000 million euros in the European Commission's drafts of the new energy roadmap.
The European Commission also considers it will be necessary to invest 210 billion euros to end the bloc's energy dependence on fossil fuels from Russia, an objective that the EU set in the wake of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, of which 86 billion euros will be essential to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and 27 billion euros for "key" hydrogen infrastructures.