Europe Needs Multi-Billion Port Infrastructure Investment to Meet Offshore Wind Goals – Report

Europe needs to invest EUR 6.5 billion in port infrastructure by 2030 to deliver the offshore wind expansion targets set out in EU’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, a new report by WindEurope shows.

These investments would pay back in just five years, WindEurope said.

Europe is embarking on a huge expansion of offshore wind. From 25 GW today to more than 400 GW by 2050.

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Europe cannot deliver this without huge investments in port infrastructure, WindEurope said. In heavy-loading quaysides, deep berths, supply chain and hydrogen infrastructure – and in that crucial commodity: space.

”Ports are essential for offshore wind. They’re a vital part of the supply and logistics chain that’s needed for the installation, assembly, operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. We can’t expand offshore without also expanding and upgrading Europe’s port infrastructure,” said Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO.

The development of port infrastructure is commonly a matter for local, regional, and national authorities. But given the strategic importance of ports to fulfilling the EU’s goals for offshore renewable energy, the European Commission should develop a strategy for the development of port infrastructure. And it should mobilise financial instruments to support the necessary investments.

At the same time, Governments should ensure that ports are reflected in their national recovery strategies. The EUR 673 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility offers an unprecedented opportunity to make Europe’s ports fit for a green and renewable future, according to the report.

Hubs for Hydrogen Generation

With growing volumes of offshore wind, ports will become essential hubs for green energy. They’re a magnet for much of the offshore wind supply chain.

Over the next decade, ports will also play a key role in upscaling Europe’s renewable hydrogen infrastructure.

They’re a natural location for electrolysers, and many electrolysis projects at ports are already being developed. Renewable hydrogen produced in ports can be stored locally and consumed in the local industrial ecosystem. It can also be used as a fuel for heavy-duty transport or further processed to ammonia for use in shipping.

”Ports are perfect hubs for green energy. The offshore wind supply chain is often located in or around ports. Ports are then integrated into wider industrial ecosystems, and they will play a key role in the decarbonisation of e.g. chemicals and refineries in coastal industrial clusters – through the renewable energy for which they serve as a hub,” Dickson said.

Photo: Port of Esbjerg