A photo of wind turbines offshore in Denmark.

The prime ministers of Denmark, Germany, Holland, and Belgium signed the Esbjerg Declaration on May 18, 2022, announcing the countries’ collective commitment to install 65 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind in the North Sea by 2030, and 150 GW by 2050. The declaration also set a target to deploy 20 GW of green hydrogen by 2050. The declaration marks a significant step change in the countries’ offshore wind ambitions and was spurred on by the need for Europe to reduce dependency on Russian oil and gas.

The Esbjerg Declaration will result in a significant increase to the number of planned North Sea energy islands. These energy islands will be built in addition to several already-planned energy islands set to operationalize by 2030, including a 3-10 GW Danish energy island in the North Sea by 2030, a 3.5 GW Belgian energy island also in the North Sea by 2028, and a Danish energy island of 2-3 GW in the Baltic Sea at the Island Bornholm also by 2028. The Bornholm energy island will become a first-of-kind demonstrator for new technologies, such as high-voltage, direct current circuit breakers.

The energy islands and their interconnections highlight the urgent need to research and test new grid solutions to enable cost-efficient, reliable, and resilient offshore grids. G-PST’s partners from Danish Technical University and Aalborg University underscored this research need in 2021 in their white paper titled “Energy Islands – a Mars Mission for the Danish Energy System”.

Further, in a new report for policy makers, the Danish industry-academia platform for wind energy research and development, Megavind, offers an introduction to the challenges related to transitioning to a 100% renewables-based grid system. Explore the report: Towards 100% Green Electrons.