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Delivering a carbon neutral Europe by 2050: the role of offshore wind energy takes centre stage in Copenhagen

By State of Green, November 22, 2019

Under the theme of ‘Our energy, our future’, Copenhagen is hosting the WindEurope Offshore 2019 congress, which sets the role of offshore wind energy in decarbonising Europe in the spotlight. Nine thousand guests and 450 exhibitors will visit the Danish capital this week as part of the event.

Home to the first offshore wind farm already back in 1991, Denmark has played a pivotal role in fostering the growth of offshore wind as a viable power source. Virtually every single offshore wind farm constructed throughout the world has involved the use of Danish know how, services, technologies or products. Therefore, it is only natural that the nation’s capital is once again playing host to the biennial offshore wind energy congress, WindEurope Offshore 2019 (hereafter referred to as Offshore 2019).

A biennial event that was established in 2005 by the industry organisation for wind professionals in Denmark, Wind Denmark, and now arranged under the auspices of the pan European organisation WindEurope, it is the third time Offshore has taken place on Danish soil.

Under the title of ‘Our energy, our future. How offshore wind will help Europe go carbon neutral’, the congress features both a conference and exhibition track that stretches over three days, starting from Tuesday November 26th. Offshore 2019 also includes a number of special areas such as the Safety, Skills & Training Zone, which is a 200m² area showcasing the offshore industry’s strong focus on securing an injury-free working environment; the Global Markets Theatre where global trends in the offshore wind market will be discussed, and an Innovation Park where start-ups and EU-funded projects can present their work.

The Danish Crown Prince to deliver opening address

Honouring the significance of the wind energy industry to Denmark’s economy and identity, the Danish Crown Prince, His Royal Highness (HRH) Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will open Offshore 2019, followed by Denmark’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, who will deliver a keynote speech during the opening ministerial session. Furthermore, ministers and senior officials from France, Germany, Poland, Luxembourg, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Germany will attend.

‘It gives me great pleasure to welcome Offshore 2019 participants to the spiritual home of the offshore wind sector. Pioneering the first offshore wind farm in 1991, Denmark has a unique position in offshore wind, with both excellent wind conditions and sites as well as a value chain second to none consisting of experienced companies and employees with a long history in offshore wind. Denmark is by far the country with the most offshore wind in the electricity system, and in the coming years the wind energy adventure will continue with several large offshore wind farms being built over the next decade’ states Wind Denmark CEO Jan Hylleberg.

‘I am delighted on behalf of WindEurope to welcome you to the most important offshore event in Europe’s wind calendar: the WindEurope Offshore 2019 Conference and Exhibition.  Over the next three days Copenhagen will be the centre of knowledge exchange, thought leadership and debate in the European offshore wind energy sector…Unlocking the full potential of European offshore wind will require ambition, and Denmark is leading the way here. Denmark is the country with the highest share of wind energy in its electricity demand – 41% last year – and is home to many of the towering giants of our industry’, states WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.

-Related publication; Wind energy moving ahead: how wind energy changed the Danish energy system

Reaching 450 GW of offshore wind  

The European Union has a clear objective of achieving a carbon neutral Europe by 2050. It is expected that wind energy will play a key role in achieving this goal, and offshore wind in particular. Home to Europe’s most plentiful wind resources, it is undoubtable that the North Sea will be the main site for future installations.

Currently, offshore wind capacity installed in Europe amounts to almost 20 GW and under current policies, looks set to reach around 130 GW by 2040. However, this figure will need to rise to up to 450 GW if the vision of a carbon neutral Europe is to be achieved. Hindering progress is a number of obstacles such as a lack of infrastructure and financing and current maritime spatial planning. Therefore, on the first day of Offshore 2019, WindEurope will launch a new report “Our energy, our future How offshore wind can help Europe”, which will discuss in detail how current barriers can be overcome and break down how much offshore wind each country needs to install by 2050.

Similarly, the Danish renewable energy giant Ørsted will also launch their take on how Europe can install 450 GW of offshore wind under the heading ‘A European Green Deal: How offshore wind can help decarbonise Europe’ on Wednesday November 27th.

These reports reflect an ambition on behalf of the congress to stimulate debate among political decision makers about the role of offshore wind in Europe’s transition to carbon neutrality and simultaneously ensure that the wind industry is prepared for a potential acceleration in the deployment of offshore wind.

-Related publication: From policy to action: implementation of the European Energy Union

Strong Danish business and political presence at Offshore 2019

In addition to HRH Crown Prince Frederik and Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Denmark will have a visible and active role during the congress. A large number of Danes will assume speaking roles during the conference and the number of Danish companies exhibiting during Offshore 2019 is larger than ever before.

The exhibition, which has been sold out for weeks in advance, features 430 exhibitors spanning the entire offshore wind value chain.  Almost one in four exhibitors are Danish companies – 99 to be precise, with the bulk of them grouped together in the Pavilion of Denmark.

“An exceptional number of Danish companies are attending this year, which characterises how much and how fast the offshore industry is growing these years. The Danish companies have a unique platform to highlight that the players in the Danish wind sector are some of the most relevant within the global offshore market,” says Søren Rasmussen, Managing Director at the Danish Wind Export Association, which is responsible for the Pavilion of Denmark.

On the regulatory side, the Danish Energy Agency is providing an insight into how wind energy is governed in Denmark and sharing some of the country’s experiences and learnings. Together with the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, the Danish Energy Agency is gathering public officials from across the globe for the so-called Global Intergovernmental Forum on Tuesday November 26th.  The forum aims to facilitate a frank and open exchange of experiences from devising political and regulatory frameworks for the planning, development and operations of offshore wind projects and how to best support the development of regulatory frameworks for new offshore markets.

Furthermore, the Danish Energy Agency, Denmark’s inbound investment promotion agency, Invest in Denmark and Wind Denmark are also holding an information seminar about Denmark’s upcoming offshore wind farm, Thor. The seminar is intended to provide relevant information for potential suppliers about the tender process and schedule for Thor.

Let us introduce you to the unique strengths of the Danish wind cluster

State of Green is thoroughly engaged in Wind Europe Offshore 2019. In collaboration with key partners such as Wind Denmark and the Confederation of Danish Industry, we are co-sponsoring the opening members’ reception for Offshore 2019. The reception includes a number of leading Danish and international figures from the offshore wind industry and the Danish Foreign Minister will hold a speech.

Furthermore, we are also hosting daily trips to Copenhagen’s very own offshore wind farm, Middelgrunden. Providing green electricity to 30,000 households in the Danish capital since 2000 and partially owned by local shareholders, it was the once the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Participation is free of charge for Offshore 2019 delegates and participants can register here.

The Danish foray into offshore wind could not have been made possible without collaboration between academia, government and industry. Strong and consistent levels of R&D funding have enabled a continuous process of refinement in the development and test of wind energy solutions. We therefore invite interested parties to participate in a visit to the world’s leading wind energy faculty and experience its state of the art research and facilities, the Technical University of Denmark’s Department of Wind Energy on Wednesday November 27th. Participants can register here.

We look forward to welcoming the many delegates coming to Denmark to participate in Offshore 2019.  We hope that participants will be inspired by the strong advisory, technical and research competencies present in Denmark that have allowed us to pioneer and champion the use of offshore wind energy as a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

For more information about WindEurope Offshore 2019, please contact project manager Martha Marriner.

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