Ministers from Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark announced they have signed an offshore wind pact that will make the North Sea the “Green Power Plant of Europe”. The four countries plan to invest €135 billion, to reach combined targets for 65 GW of offshore wind by 2030, and 150 GW by 2050, delivering more than half of the capacity needed to reach EU climate neutrality.
The pact will also contribute to large-scale onshore and offshore production of green hydrogen, with the countries stating that they have set combined targets of 20 GW production capacity by 2030.
The announcement comes as the EU plans to roll out its REPowerEU plan, proposed by the European Commission on Wednesday, outlining a strategy to reduce European reliance on Russian fossil fuels through measures including the deployment of renewable and clean energy capacity.
As part of the pact, Denmark is planning to establish the world’s first multi-phased and largest energy island in the North Sea with an initial capacity of 3 GW of offshore wind by 2033 and connections to Belgium and Denmark, and reach at least 10 GW total offshore wind capacity by 2030, with a view towards 35 GW in the North Sea by 2050.
Netherlands, together with Denmark will explore ways to connect the energy island in the Danish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to a Dutch energy hub, including perspectives for offshore green hydrogen production. The country is also planning to establish about 21 GW offshore wind capacity around 2030.
Germany aims to establish at least 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030, 40 GW by 2035 and 70 GW by 2045. Together with Denmark, the counties intend to partner on the Bornholm Energy Island in the Baltic Sea and will also engage in hybrid renewable energy projects in the North Sea.
Belgium is aiming to establish the world’s first offshore energy island, a project which combines offshore wind generation and cross-border interconnection. The country is also planning to establish 5.8 GW offshore wind capacity by 2030 and 8 GW by 2040. Together with Denmark, Belgium will also collaborate on hybrid renewable energy projects.
At the Leaders’ Summit on offshore wind in the North Sea, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, commented:
“I am very happy to be here today to witness the action you are taking here, as four countries, with the memorandum you have signed, which, indeed, is a very strong political commitment from your countries to making the North Sea Europe’s green power plant.”