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News 08 May 2023

Ostend Declaration on Offshore Wind in North Sea

Energy ministers from nine European countries have signed an agreement committing to the installation of a minimum of 120 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050. The Ostend declaration, which was signed at the North Sea Summit, is considered a significant step towards achieving a greener and more energy-independent Europe. Representatives from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom attended the summit, which builds on the previous Esbjerg Declaration from last year. The agreement aims to develop cooperation projects that create an entire electricity system in the North Seas based on renewable energy, coordinating offshore wind deployment efforts, and developing an offshore electricity grid to support a green economy powered by offshore green power plants. In addition, the heads of government highlighted the importance of balancing offshore wind deployment with safeguarding marine ecosystems, promoting European value chains in green tech, and diversifying sources of critical raw materials for wind turbines and batteries. Finally, they committed to working together within NATO and the European Union to enhance the security of offshore and underwater infrastructure and respond effectively to growing traditional and hybrid threats. Overall, the North Sea Summit represents a critical step towards a greener and more competitive Europe, with each additional wind turbine bringing the continent closer to a sustainable future. However, disagreements and divisions emerged during the closing press conference, including Belgium's legal dispute with France over a planned wind farm and disagreement over how to prevent Europe from becoming overly dependent on China for renewable energy equipment. The absence of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the press conference also raised concerns about the UK's willingness to engage in energy cooperation with Europe.