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Lessons Learned from European Offshore Wind Development

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson gave a keynote speech at an U.S. offshore event, the International Offshore Wind Patterning Forum (IPF 2019) in New York this week. He set out the lessons learned from the EU’s offshore success story.

Image: WindEuropeImage: WindEurope

One of his most urgent pleas was for the U.S. States to resist the temptation to impose local content rules, because international collaboration was what made the industry grow in Europe in rapid time. Dickson pointed to the example of the North Seas Energy Cooperation, an initiative which aims to establish 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). The North Seas Energy Cooperation is facilitating the cost-effective deployment of offshore wind while promoting interconnection between the countries in the region. This is exactly the sort of cooperation that will be required between States in the U.S. to unlock the country’s vast offshore wind potential.

He also pointed out what happens if one country tries to impose its own way: Only one country in Europe has tried to impose local content, top-down: France. And they have the highest costs and still haven’t completed their first offshore wind farm. “We know the politics around jobs,” Dickson said. “And the temptation to impose local content. But the European experience shows that if you want both local jobs and low costs, it’s best to let the market work.”

Offshore wind has a proven record of rejuvenating former industrial towns in Europe. Dickson gave the UK example of the Green Port in Hull, where offshore wind has brought €400m in investment and directly created 1,000 new jobs while providing a wide range of social initiatives to the local community.

Dickson also set out the current state of the wind industry in Europe: There are now 189 GW of wind energy in Europe, making up 14% of the EU’s power demand. 18.5 GW of this is in Europe’s offshore fleet, whose 105 wind farms and 4,500 turbines now provide 40,000 jobs. These numbers are supposed to grow significantly in the coming years as more and more countries start to develop offshore wind.

Windfair Staff
Giles Dickson, WindEurope, USA, offshore, wind industry, market, local content, France, UK, US

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