Nine European Countries Launch Joint Offshore Wind Tender Planning, Set to Auction Off 15 GW  Each Year

Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, together with the European Commission (EC), have launched joint planning of offshore wind tenders at a ministerial meeting of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC), held on 20 November, in the Hague, the Netherlands.

The collective NSEC tender planning translates the nine NSEC member countries’ broad ambitions into tangible progress, auctioning around 15 GW every year and awarding almost 100 GW between now and 2030.

The move comes as the Netherlands completes its NSEC co-presidency run, during which the Dutch government’s objective was to make a set of European actions based on individual national targets.

“Europe’s energy mix is becoming cleaner and greener, and offshore renewables will have an indispensable part in the future energy mix. The North Sea is leading the way in their deployment, and has the potential to become Europe’s ‘Green Power Plant’,” said the European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simon.

“Our discussions today showed the joint determination and commitment to continue the work to deliver on our offshore ambitions, and to take the work forward to boost the competitiveness of this vital sector. I want to thank the Netherlands for hosting this year’s meeting in the Hague, and for the impressive work brought forward under the NSEC co-presidency.”

According to the EC, establishing joint tender planning will increase predictability in the wind power sector and allow for better collaboration. For example, it will facilitate better cooperation and coordination on cables, pipes, port infrastructure and access to resources. This helps the European wind power sector with its mid- and long-term (financial) planning, the EC says.

The countries will also better coordinate their infrastructure planning at sea. In January 2024, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), will publish a shared plan for infrastructure in the North Sea, with input from NSEC countries. This is an important step on the road to a European integrated energy system in 2050. This plan takes into account the need for a fair balance with other sectors and users in the North Sea, such as the fishing and transport industry, EC states in a press release from 20 November.

The predictability in the offshore wind sector was also one of the main points of the new port study that was carried out by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and Royal HaskoningDHV for NSEC.

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The study says that the joint offshore wind target of the nine NSEC countries of 120 GW in 2030 is unlikely to be met unless immediate action is taken to develop new port infrastructure and upgrade existing port facilities.

The North Seas Offshore Wind Port Study 2030-2050 identifies the bottlenecks and offers several action points to address these, aimed at both the public and the private sectors, as well as financial institutions.

One of these recommendations is working on a shared European tender planning, as foreseen under the European Wind Power Action Plan.

This would increase certainty in the offshore wind sector and in turn also demand certainty for ports.

“In recent years, North Sea countries shared ambitious plans for sustainable offshore wind energy development. Now, it is time to bring these ambitions into action. We all share the responsibility to develop the North Sea offshore energy plans in a responsible manner, in coordination with other North Sea-users and minimizing ecological impact. Close collaboration is the only way to successfully reach our energy ambitions. Today we start with the joint actions to take the sector to the next phase,” said Dutch Minister for Energy and Climate Policy, Rob Jetten.

The Netherlands, alongside the European Commission, has co-chaired the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) for the past year and the co-presidency role now passes to Denmark.


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