Germany, Denmark, and Belgium have entered into an agreement that will increase the amount of offshore wind power in the world 5-fold, from 13.8 gigawatts today to more than 60 gigawatts within 10 years.
The governments of the 3 nations have pledged to work with more than 25 private companies — including Dong Energy, which is the world’s leading offshore wind farm developer — to increase investment in offshore wind and reduce costs.
Prices for offshore wind have tumbled in the past decade and were down 22% in 2016 alone. This trend may sound familiar to you, as it’s one we’ve seen with onshore wind, solar power, and electric vehicle as well as stationary storage batteries. Wind power in Germany passed a milestone in April when new bids for offshore wind fell below the cost of conventional power for the first time without the benefit of government subsidies.
A group of 10 European countries entered into an agreement to boost offshore wind power last year. Trade association WindEurope will work to get the 7 nations that were absent from this week’s signing ceremony to add their names to the document as soon as possible.
The UK is one of those countries, but its participation is up in the air as results from the general election on June 8 are unexpected. Support for renewable energy has waned in the British Isles recently. In the wake of the Brexit vote, the British government has begun giving the cold shoulder to solar and wind initiatives.
However, the voting results are such that the Tories, the ruling party at the moment, have lost a significant number of seats in Parliament. There are even suggestions that Prime Minister May could be forced to step aside if she is unable to form a new government. If that happens, the UK could see yet another shift in its energy policies.
“With this joint statement, leading businesses and governments are taking the next step by committing to cooperate on the deployment of big volumes for offshore wind energy,” said Giles Dickson, chief executive officer of WindEurope. “Today’s statement is a clear recognition of the strategic importance of offshore wind as a clean, competitive and reliable energy source for Europe.”