The North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) supports and facilitates the development of the offshore grid development and the large renewable energy potential in the region. This is a long-standing energy priority for the EU and the concerned countries.
The European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan emphasise the importance of offshore renewable energy in meeting the EU’s 2030 and 2050 climate and energy objectives and stress the importance of regional cooperation.
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the European Commission are currently members of the NSEC, since the withdrawal of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020.
At the NSEC ministerial meeting on 4 December 2019, the member countries and the Commission agreed that the meeting conclusions allowed the NSEC to continue and reinforce the cooperation under a new 3-year work programme.
The 2020-2023 work programme and the new structure put a particular emphasis on developing concrete cross-border offshore wind and grid projects (hybrid projects), with the potential to reduce costs and space of offshore developments.
In 2016, a joint political declaration established the North Seas Energy Cooperation, aiming at facilitating the cost-effective deployment of offshore renewable energy, in particular wind, and promoting interconnection between the countries in the region
It emphasises the importance of voluntary cooperation, with the aim of securing a sustainable, secure and affordable energy supply for the North Seas countries.
At the Ministerial meeting of 2 December 2021, NSEC countries and the European Commission signed a renewed Political Declaration, updating and aligning the objectives of the regional cooperation to the evolution of the political context since 2016.
Governance and support structure 2020-2023
The governance structure consists of a high-level group, ministerial meetings and the coordinators committee.
The former support groups have been transformed into 4 new support groups focusing on
- hybrid and joint projects
- maritime spatial planning
- support framework and finance
- delivering 2050
Joint statements and meetings
The NSEC issued in July 2020 a joint statement calling for a European enabling framework for offshore wind energy. The framework should consider how to tackle existing barriers for an accelerated development of cross-border hybrid offshore wind energy projects in the North Seas, but also include guidance to EU countries on how to implement projects, adequate electricity market arrangements and efficient EU financing. This joint statement and further work of the NSEC in 2020 provided valuable input to the EU strategy on offshore renewable energy, published on 19 November 2020.
NSEC countries and the Commission took stock of the work and achievements in 2020 under the NSEC German Presidency, at a ministerial meeting on 14 December 2020. NSEC was chaired by Belgium in 2021 and by Ireland in 2022.
At the NSEC event in Dublin on 12 September 2022, the 9 member countries agreed in a Joint Statement to reach at least 260 GW of offshore wind energy by 2050, which will represent more than 85% of the EU-wide ambition of reaching at least 300 GW by 2050. The 2050 NSEC ambitions are complemented with intermediate targets of at least 76 GW by 2030 and 193 GW by 2040.
The Commission supports the ambitious NSEC objective and published in time for the meeting a collection of all EU funding options available for offshore energy projects and the Clean Energy Industrial Forum working-group prepared an expert informative note on the EU offshore supply chain.
Moreover, the Commission has supported ENTSO-E in preparing a guidance document for the preparation of future Offshore Network Development Plans.
A study on the possible use of congestion income for offshore renewable energy projects connected to more than one market and a study (launched in 2022) on sea basin cost-benefit sharing will also help in implementing the Offshore Strategy and the TEN-E Regulation, including future guidance for the whole EU.
Under the 2023 NSEC co-Presidency and during the 20 November 2023 Ministerial meeting, NSEC Members endorsed an Action Agenda, which confirms the offshore ambitions and actively supports their realisation in the NSEC context. On this occasion, a joint NSEC offshore wind tender planning was also published to give as much visibility as possible on project demand.
- North Seas conference in The Hague: from national goals to joint action for offshore wind energy (20/11/2023)
- North Seas Energy Cooperation and UK establish cooperation framework to facilitate the development of offshore renewable energy (18/12/2022)
- Members of the North Seas Energy Cooperation grasp historic opportunity to accelerate Europe’s move towards energy independence (12/09/2022)
- President von der Leyen participates in the Leaders' Summit on offshore wind in the North Sea (18/05/2022)