Renewables: Scholz: Wind energy in the North Sea has great potential

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called for more speed in the expansion of wind power, including in the North Sea.

Renewables: Scholz: Wind energy in the North Sea has great potential

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called for more speed in the expansion of wind power, including in the North Sea. Germany wants to be climate-neutral by 2045. "Wind energy at sea has a very, very large potential for this," he said at a North Sea summit in Ostend, Belgium. However, the expansion of renewable energies must proceed more quickly, for example with permits, but also with the construction of networks. "The energy lines are Europe's lifelines," said Scholz. The neighboring countries wanted to develop "the energy of the North Sea" together. This also requires a strengthening of supply chains and a strong supplier industry in Europe.

Wind energy from the North Sea should make a significant contribution to Europe's power supply in the future. Scholz and the representatives of eight other countries came together in Ostend, Belgium, to promote the expansion of wind farms off the coast and to turn the North Sea into Europe's green power plant. "In a very short time, the North Sea will be the most important place for energy production, much more so than we already know," said Scholz.

Specifically, the nine countries - in addition to Germany and Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg and Great Britain - want to build offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 120 gigawatts by 2030. By 2050, at least 300 gigawatts should be generated from offshore wind energy. At the same time, the production of green hydrogen in the North Sea is to be expanded. This aims to help make Europe carbon neutral by 2050.

Belgium's Prime Minister: Ambitious Goals

Host Alexander De Croo spoke of ambitious goals. Now it is a matter of implementing these goals, said Belgium's head of government. "This means we have to standardize, we have to work better together, we have to synchronize supply chains." The security of the infrastructure in the North Sea is just as important, stressed De Croo. Wind farms, seabed cables and pipelines are vulnerable to sabotage and espionage.

According to the Belgian government, the value of offshore wind energy in the nine countries was around 30 gigawatts last year. Around 8 gigawatts came from Germany, most of it from the North Sea. France, Norway and Ireland, on the other hand, each produced significantly less than 1 gigawatt.

"It is a colossal undertaking and a real example of the energy transition in action," said the heads of state and government in a joint contribution to the magazine "Politico" before the summit. This requires massive investments both on land and at sea. At the same time, bureaucratic obstacles would have to be removed.

"We cannot wait years for approval processes while global temperatures rise and autocratic governments have the opportunity to turn off the lights in our living rooms and shut down our industrial production," it said. At the same time, the healthy and robust marine ecosystems must be preserved.

Recently only slow expansion

The expansion of offshore wind energy has only progressed slowly in Germany and the EU. At the summit on the Belgian coast, the participating states each set their own national goals. Germany announced last year that it would target at least 30 gigawatts by 2030 and at least 70 gigawatts by 2045 from offshore wind energy. The majority of this is likely to come from the North Sea.

Further declarations were also passed and projects initiated at the summit. The EU and Norway formally concluded an agreement that is intended to strengthen cooperation in areas such as renewable energies and environmental protection. Great Britain and the Netherlands, in turn, announced the construction of an "electricity highway" in the North Sea, which should be operational in the early 2030s. The "LionLink" line will then connect both countries with wind farms in the North Sea.