European plans to abandon dependence on Russian gas and oil and, in the long term, on all hydrocarbons due to the need to make the energy transition against climate change, are beginning to take shape in national projects.
After the European Commission announced on Wednesday its RePowerEU plan to boost renewable energy, four governments took the opportunity to make public the world’s largest renewable energy project.
Germany, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands promise to install 65 GW of offshore wind power by 2030 and by 2050 to reach 150 GW.
Right now they add up to 15 GW. If this wind generation capacity were to be installed, it would alone constitute half of all the offshore wind energy needed in the European Union in 2050. To get an idea of ??its magnitude, the entire French nuclear power has 61.4 GW installed.
The four heads of government of the countries involved signed a declaration on Wednesday in the Danish port of Esbjerg, where the offshore wind platforms of multinationals such as Siemens Gamesa or the Danish Vestas are assembled.
A file image shows wind power turbines from Denmark’s Vestas in the waters off Wales.
The German Olaf Scholz, the Belgian Alexander De Croo, the Danish Mette Frederiksen and the Dutch Mark Rutte committed their countries to build what they called “the largest green power plant in Europe”.
Present at the signing was the President of the European Commission, Úrsula Von der Leyen, who said that “the more interdependent we are among the European States, the less dependent we will be on Russia.”
The idea is to trigger the installation of these offshore wind turbines, connect the offshore wind farms of the four countries and add 20 GW of green hydrogen to them to form what, in practice, would be a single offshore wind platform.
In total, the facility would add an electrical generation capacity equivalent to 170 medium-sized nuclear power plants, more than double all those installed and in operation in Europe.
The four signatory countries consider that the project meets the challenge of ensuring climate neutrality and energy security at the same time.
Little Belgium and its future artificial island, Princess Elisabeth, planned for 2028, is at the center of the project. The Belgian island, which will take a good pinch of post-pandemic European funds, will be a kind of gigantic artificial plug in the high seas to which all the wind platforms in neighboring countries will be connected. The UK is expected to participate in the project in the future.
The offshore wind turbine platforms of the four countries must be connected by 2030 at the latest.
For that year Belgium will have to contribute 8 GW, Denmark 10 GW, the Netherlands 21 GW and Germany 30 GW.
If they all comply in less than eight years, they will have between the four 69 GW of offshore wind power in operation, almost like 70 medium-sized nuclear reactors.
Belgium, with barely 11 million inhabitants and only 65 kilometers of coastline, is the fourth European wind power and is already the second world power if offshore wind capacity per inhabitant is taken into account. Denmark will also build an artificial island. In practice, the idea does not only entail “planting” more windmills in the sea, but connecting them in a network in such a way that they constitute a single “power plant”.