The energy potential of the North Sea is to play a crucial role in the energy transition facing North-West Europe and can create between EUR 100 billion and EUR 200 billion in value by 2050, according to a report by the World Energy Council Netherlands (WEC).
Cooperation can achieve significant cost reductions for decommissioning oil and gas assets, constructing offshore wind farms and creating smart networks, WEC said in the report, ‘The North Sea opportunity’. As a result, the social costs of the energy transition will fall.
“The opportunities and diversity in the North Sea are huge,” said Jeroen van Hoof, chair of WEC Nederland.
“The energy transformation in the North Sea creates new industries. We can benefit from huge economic advantages by installing large wind farms. However, a coordinated removal and smart reuse of former oil and gas assets can also generate new economic activities. The potential is gigantic.”
Several recommendations included in the report are currently being worked out in greater detail together with officials in Brussels. For instance, various workflows have been initiated to coordinate European legislation for offshore grids and platforms and to optimise the required cross-border maritime planning. Efforts are also being focused on the issue of how the European subsidy and financing system can actively contribute to these possibilities. Furthermore, the WEC will carry out a follow-up study in the next six months into the implications of these North Sea developments for the hinterland.
“Particularly at a time when President Trump is announcing the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Accord, it’s good to see the variety of opportunities offered by the energy transition. We in Europe must therefore continue to make every effort to seize these opportunities, both for ourselves and for future generations,” said van Hoof.
The report was published by WEC Netherlands in collaboration with project partners DNV-GL, EBN, ECN, PwC, Rabobank, Shell, TenneT and TNO, and with contributions from the World Energy Council in the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Norway and Denmark.