Energy ministers from the members of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) and the European Commission are increasing their involvement in the deployment of offshore renewable energy. At their ministerial meeting in Dublin, under the Irish co-presidency of NSEC, the NSEC ministers have agreed to aggregate, non-binding offshore renewable energy targets for the maritime area of the entire NSEC region.
The nine NSEC countries have agreed to reach at least 260 GW of offshore wind energy by 2050. This will represent more than 85% of the EU-wide ambition of reaching 300 GW by 2050. Ministers and the commission reiterated their commitment that cooperation within the NSEC will be the framework for achieving their increased offshore ambitions.
“This commitment is a great example of the kind of regional cooperation that the commission envisaged in our Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy,” says Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson. “It is impressive that the target agreed by nine NSEC countries constitutes more than 85 percent of the EU-wide ambition we outlined two years ago. The green energy transition has only become more urgent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
“The acceleration of renewables deployment is one of the three pillars of the REPowerEU Plan to end our dependence on Russian fossil fuels,” Simson continues. “Increasing renewable energy will not only help to improve the sustainability of our energy sector, it will improve our security of supply and the affordability of energy – two challenges that we are facing in the EU at the moment.”
“In Ireland alone, our sea area is seven times our landmass,” states Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan. “The North Atlantic and North Sea comprise some of the windiest locations on the globe. It is our greatest collective resource of continuous energy, and it is momentous that we have agreed today to be ambitious in our targets, as a collective.”
“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the consequential energy price shock and security of supply crisis has shown us how crucial it is that we move away, as quickly as possible, from our reliance on expensive and ransomed fossil fuels,” adds Ryan. “It has also shown us how important unity across the European Union has been in responding to this crisis. When it comes to realizing the potential of offshore wind, again, it is best that we work in unity, that we set agreed targets, and that we operate as a collective. With this approach, we can provide assurances to householders and businesses – in our own countries and across Europe – that firstly, Europe will be energy independent, and secondly, that these new renewable energy sources and resultant hydrogen from our seas will be fairly shared and, critically, will be affordable.”