The leaders of some of Europe’s biggest economies are set to pledge to turn the North Sea into an offshore wind, hydrogen, and carbon capture energy hub.
The heads of state and government of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Ireland, Norway, and the United Kingdom are meeting on Monday for the second edition of the North Sea Summit in the Belgian city of Ostend.
The summit is also attended by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.
The summit by some of the EU’s biggest economies and allies Norway and the UK is expected to pledge a combined 120 gigawatts (GW) of North Sea offshore wind capacity by 2030, according to a draft of the leaders’ communique seen by Reuters.
The offshore wind goal for 2050 would be set at 300 GW, compared to the current installed capacity of 25 GW.
“In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and attempts of energy blackmail against Europe we will accelerate our efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption as well as dependence on fossil fuel imports,” according to the draft statement Reuters has seen.
The leaders will also pledge to work together on carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen projects in the North Sea.
Separately, the EU and Norway signed today a new EU-Norway Green Alliance to cooperate on fighting climate change and boosting clean energy production, including by focusing on hydrogen and offshore renewable energy.
Early this year, Norway’s energy major Equinor and Germany’s RWE agreed to work together to develop large-scale value chains for low-carbon hydrogen.
The North Sea has the potential to become the site of massive offshore hydrogen production from offshore wind and a hydrogen pipeline network connecting northwest European countries, a study by consultancy DNV showed last month.