WindEurope TEN-T

WindEurope Calls EU to Recognise Ports’ Vital Role in Achieving CO2 Reduction Through Offshore Wind

The European Union (EU) should recognise the critical role of offshore wind ports in its trans-European transport network policy (TEN-T) to support the transition to cleaner, greener, and smarter mobility in line with the European Green Deal, said WindEurope in its latest press release.

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With its TEN-T, the EU aims to build an efficient, multimodal, and high-quality transport infrastructure across the EU. The EU wants to use the ongoing TEN-T revision to make Europe’s transport fit for the delivery of the European Green Deal, according to WindEurope.

WindEurope also adds that achieving climate neutrality by 2050 will require a 19-fold increase in offshore wind capacity from today’s 16 GW which means that in the next seven years alone the volume of offshore wind in the EU needs to rise from 16 GW to 115 GW.

This comes with specific transport needs, infrastructure, and connectivity, which requires investment in port infrastructure. WindEurope estimates that by 2030 alone Europe will need to invest EUR 8.5 billion in its port infrastructure.

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WindEurope and the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) said they urge the EU and Member States to recognise the vital role ports play in achieving carbon reduction through wind energy, in particular, they should ensure that the TEN-T revision includes metrics that are in line with Europe’s decarbonisation objectives.

As things stand, ports choosing to transition from the hydrocarbons business to renewables are penalised as this leads to a reduction of tonnage handled.

“The role some ports in Europe are playing in the development, the supply and value chain of the offshore wind energy is immense but cannot be measured in terms of tonnes – the current sole criterium to be a TEN-T port”, said Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General.

“ESPO believes it is time for the TEN-T policy to understand and reflect that the energy transition has a major impact on supply chains, connectivities, transport modes and port infrastructure. It is more than time to adapt the TEN-T policy to these new reality and include ports that play an important role in the energy value chain. Without these ports, the supply of renewable energy will be hampered.”

Transport volumes should not be the only deciding factor, said WindEurope as ports have long moved away from counting tonnage on their own.

Ports can also be part of the comprehensive network if “its total annual cargo volume (bulk and non-bulk) exceeds 500,000 tonnes AND its contribution to the diversification of EU energy supplies and to the acceleration of the roll-out of renewable energies is one of the main activities of the port”.

“Many tonnes of material are moved in and out of the ports during the storage, assembly and installation of wind turbines. But that’s not the end of the story. Ports also ensure reliable and secure energy production at sea. But these essential operation and maintenance activities are not covered under the current criteria for ports to access the TEN-T network. MEPs must address this issue. TEN-T should include metrics that are in line with Europe’s decarbonisation objectives”, said Giles Dickenson, WindEurope CEO.

Stable legislation and dedicated funding could allow ports to strategically plan the expansion or adaption of their facilities in the most efficient way, according to WindEurope’s press release.

But policy on port development is often set at the regional level where it competes with other industry activities and policy makers should recognise the societal benefits of investing in offshore-ready ports and should make financial instruments available accordingly, said the organisation.

In January, six European ports signed a mutual declaration to collaborate on an operational and practical level to mitigate overcapacitation due to upcoming increasing offshore wind activities.

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