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Energy
News announcement18 December 2022Directorate-General for Energy

North Seas Energy Cooperation and UK establish cooperation framework to facilitate the development of offshore renewable energy

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Energy ministers from the members of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC), the Commissioner for Energy and the Energy Minister from the United Kingdom have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU provides a framework for the cooperation of the NSEC and the UK in the development of cost-effective and sustainable offshore renewable energy.

The MoU recognises the important role of offshore renewable energy in reaching our climate and energy targets as well as the need to accelerate the green transition in view of the vast offshore renewable energy potential of the North Seas. The cooperation aims to facilitate the planning and development of specific offshore renewable projects, including offshore grids.

Through this MoU, the EU and UK aim to strengthen their joint action on offshore renewable energy and put in place a framework of cooperation following Brexit. The MoU specifies that the cooperation covers technical and expert dialogue, information exchange and sharing of best practices. The MoU provides a framework that is distinct yet complementary to NSEC’s own work. The Commission and the NSEC member state acting as Co-Presidency will now work on the implementation of this MoU.

Welcoming the signature of the MoU, Commissioner Simson said:

The Memorandum signed today provides the NSEC members and the UK with a basis to cooperate on offshore energy. Given the significant potential of offshore renewable energy in the North Seas, this cooperation is important to help achieve our joint renewable offshore ambitions. The exchanges will build on the successful work of NSEC to deliver concrete outputs.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD said:

I welcome today’s milestone agreement, which we have striven to achieve under the Irish NSEC Co-Presidency and which will build upon the momentum from the Ministerial meeting in Dublin. Through this voluntary cooperation we will reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels, and can look forward to delivering secure and affordable energy for European households and businesses.

At today’s meeting, the Irish energy minister handed over the NSEC Co-Presidency to the Netherlands who will hold the Co-Presidency in 2023.

    Background

    The NSEC

    • The North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) is a regional non-binding cooperation framework which aims to advance development of offshore renewable energy in the geographical area of the North Seas, including the Irish and Celtic Seas. NSEC is based on a Political Declaration adopted in 2016, with membership comprised of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the European Commission.
    • The Co-Presidency of NSEC is held by the European Commission on a permanent basis and one NSEC member state for a rotating 12-month period. Ireland holds this Co-Presidency role for 2022 and the Netherlands will hold the Co-Presidency for 2023.
    • The 2016 Political Declaration which established the group emphasises the importance of cooperation, with the aim of securing a sustainable secure and affordable energy supply for the North Seas countries. An updated political declaration was signed in December 2021 to reflect the increased climate ambition contained in the European Green Deal.
    • The last ministerial NSEC meeting took place, under the Irish Co-Presidency in Dublin, in September 2022 when the NSEC ministers agreed on aggregate, non-binding offshore renewable energy targets. In their Joint Statement the nine NSEC countries agreed to reach at least 260GW of offshore wind energy by 2050. This will represent more than 85% of the EU-wide ambition of reaching 300GW by 2050 as set out in the EU strategy for offshore renewable energy 

    The MoU

    • The cooperation under the MoU implements Article 321 of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which provides that the EU and the UK are to enable the creation of a specific forum for technical discussions on offshore renewable energy development, building on NSEC, in a number of areas. The MoU gives effect to this provision and establishes a new relationship between NSEC and the UK, building on the existing NSEC structures. Through the MoU, the UK does not become an NSEC member but benefits from a privileged framework for cooperation with the NSEC members.

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    Details

    Publication date
    18 December 2022
    Author
    Directorate-General for Energy