The development of an offshore grid linking the ten countries in the North Seas region (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom) is a long-standing energy policy priority for the EU. The region has great potential for offshore wind generation, and linking these countries via energy infrastructure will create jobs and economic growth throughout the region. A regional, cooperative approach will deliver these benefits in the most cost-efficient manner.
Since the establishment of the North Seas Countries' Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI) in 2009, the cost of offshore wind energy has decreased as the technologies used to generate it have matured, and in 2016 the countries in the North Seas region signed a Political Declaration to reaffirm their commitment to cooperation.
This cooperation has two goals:
- facilitating the cost-effective deployment of offshore renewable energy, in particular wind
- promoting interconnection between the countries in the region.
The Declaration emphasises the importance of voluntary cooperation, with the aim of securing a sustainable, secure and affordable energy supply for the Northern Seas countries.
Energy cooperation work areas
Four specific work areas have been identified:
- maritime spatial planning
- development and regulation of offshore grids and other offshore infrastructure
- support framework and finance for offshore wind projects
- standards, technical rules and regulations in the offshore wind sector.
A Support Group has been established for each specific work area. The involvement of a wide variety of stakeholders will ensure concrete progress and tangible results.
A High Level Group will bring the outputs of the working groups to the political level and ensure that important decisions receive support.
North Seas Energy Forum
The European Commission organises the North Seas Energy Forum. This event brings together representatives of the public, private and non-governmental sectors in the Northern Seas region to discuss challenges and opportunities in the region and the role of all stakeholders in realising its full energy potential.