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Better planning needed for Black Sea offshore wind development – WindEurope

Better planning needed for Black Sea offshore wind development – WindEurope

Date: May 25th 2021

Author: Peter Palčec

Category: En.vision

Topic: Electricity , Renewables , Energy policy , New technologies

Grid connection issues and a lack of proper planning are some of the biggest obstacles preventing offshore wind development in the Black Sea region, WindEurope told Energetika.NET.

vetrne elektrarne na morju
While setting offshore wind targets is the main priority, the Romanian and Bulgarian governments also need to create the right conditions for offshore wind development. This includes timely grid planning and the reservation of onshore capacity and landing points.

“Planning offshore routes and issuing grid permits takes a lot of time. The governments must make sure they have them ready in time,” said a representative of WindEurope, Christoph Zipf.

Another key factor is having an auction system in place that clearly sets out future auction rounds and volumes. Offshore wind is capital-intensive and requires long planning cycles. Developers will only start to invest in markets such as Romania or Bulgaria if they have certain security about future auction volumes, added Zipf.

Meanwhile, in April, WindEurope wrote that only six EU countries met the deadline for the submission of their final maritime spatial plans (MSP).

“Other member states will need to ensure that their plans are aligned with EU climate goals and allow for the development of offshore wind. Today the EU stands at 15 GW of installed offshore wind capacity. The EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy (ORES) sets a target of 300 GW of offshore wind by 2050, 20 times more than what the EU has today,” said WindEurope in a press release.

To deliver this increase, offshore wind development will need to take off in the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Black Sea.

Scaling up ambition


When asked how adoption of MSPs could help accelerate offshore wind development in the Black Sea area, WindEurope told Energetika.NET that MSPs were a useful tool for governments in terms of allocating areas for the dedicated production of offshore wind energy.
 
“The government can help facilitate the happy coexistence of wind energy development and other maritime interests, such as those of shipping, tourism, fisheries and the military. Having a solid MSP in place is good because it reduces conflicts, allows governments to coordinate their economic activities at sea in a more centralised manner and gives a clear signal to investors,” said Zipf.

However, a maritime spatial plan should not force governments to centralise all exploration activities. Bulgaria and Romania should allow an approach in which developers can lead the site identification process through an open-door procedure.

Additionally, the European Union should support its member states by providing them with good examples of existing offshore wind energy production. Bulgaria and Romania can learn and benefit greatly from cooperation with the North Sea Energy Cooperation forum and its best practices for auction design (contracts for difference), which are already being implemented in the North Sea.
 
As it stands, the national energy and climate plans of Bulgaria and Romania are not ambitious enough, according to WindEurope. Moreover, the two countries should use the money coming from the European Commission’s recovery and resilience facility to modernise their energy systems and accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

“This is a once in a century opportunity. Poland, which today is also largely dominated by coal, is quickly moving towards offshore wind,” said Zipf.



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