European Winds are Stronger than Ever

On May 18th, the European Commission announced an extra 30GW of wind by 2030 on top of the existing 450GW target and, that same day, Heads of Government from Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Belgium signed The Esbjerg Declaration.  Here, the four countries set offshore wind targets of at least 65 GW by 2030 and at least 150 GW by 2050. This would deliver half of the 300 GW foreseen in the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy (ORES). Renewable energy targets are higher than ever all around the world, but paradoxically we see at the same time that our industry is struggling to remain financially resilient. So the key question is: what makes this new round of ambitious statements on wind energy any different?
Corporate Affairs Department

Itsaso Etxebarria Altonaga
The answer is clear: ambition and commitment to materialize the targets. Last week the North Sea Summit took place in Esbjerg, Denmark. The event gathered high level authorities from countries as well as EU Commission representatives and key industry players. Our CEO, Jochen Eickholt, was present at the event and participated in a panel focused on the role that offshore wind will play on phasing out fossil fuels and secure energy independence. After the Summit, he welcomed the four Heads of State, their energy ministers and the EU Commission President and energy commissioner to our Siemens Gamesa’s premises – after all, what better place to sign the historic Esbjerg Declaration than at the global market leader for offshore? 2 out of 3 offshore wind turbines erected across the world come from Siemens Gamesa, and the number is even as high as 77% when it comes to Denmark. 

During the event, the Danish Prime Minister declared in her speech that “setting a vision is not enough, we will make it happen”. The North Sea has always been a leading region in terms of offshore wind power and this meeting represented no less. Additional to the Declaration, the four Energy Ministers signed several bilateral declarations that cover ambitions on green hydrogen and the establishment of more energy islands in the North Sea. Already the following day,  energy infrastructure company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners announced its intention to build a hydrogen island in cooperation with Germany. 
Partnerships like these are only a small piece of a big puzzle. The disruptions that the energy market and the supply chains are suffering, now worsened by the war in Ukraine, made the alarms sound all over Europe. For the past months, the Commission has been thinking on how to handle this crisis and, last week, the result was finally revealed. REPowerEU is the scheme designed by the EU Commission that has a double aim: cut the European Union’s dependency from Russian fossil fuels and fast forward the energy transition, mostly through the rollout of renewables. The plan lays the foundation for the steps to be taken by Member States and sends clear signals of commitment to the market.

REPowerEU actions include increasing the target for final renewable consumption from 40% to 45% by 2030, adding extra 30GW of wind to the already foreseen 450GW; simplifying and accelerating permitting processes -major bottlenecks of infrastructure development- through different mechanisms; promoting the consumption of 20 million tonnes (mt) of renewable hydrogen by 2030 -10 mt home produced and other 10mt from imports-; supporting extra funding for renewable hydrogen research and development; supporting partnerships in the Mediterranean and the North Seas with non-EU members, Ukraine included, and so much more. Additionally, the war has hastened the urgency of the green transition, making energy security a top priority of EU policy and renewables a pillar to it. Of course, there is still a lot of work ahead. In 2021, the EU 27 Member States only installed 11GW of wind capacity. Bearing in mind that the target for 2030 is 280GW, the block needs to install more than 32GW per year until 2030.  So, the challenge remains. 

Nevertheless, there has never been such ambition from politicians and institutional stakeholders to liaise with the sector with the ultimate goal of making those high targets transform into real projects. 

Both the Esbjerg Declaration for Offshore wind in the North Sea and the REPowerEU, are big steps in the right direction. Policymakers have acknowledged the importance of wind energy while also supporting the measures that shall be adopted to keep a resilient made-in-Europe industry with the ability to set standards in the global arena. We at Siemens Gamesa remain committed to becoming key partners to the green transition and will keep interacting with relevant stakeholders so that a healthy supply chain can move forward united and thrive in the future. Let’s unleash our full potential!


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