Germany, Belgium, Denmark and industry pledge huge EU offshore wind expansion

LONDON, June 6 (Reuters) - Germany, Denmark and Belgium joined with 25 companies on Tuesday to back a pledge to increase Europe’s offshore wind capacity almost fivefold in the next decade.

The joint declaration, signed by energy ministers for the three countries and firms including Dong Energy and Siemens Gamesa, said the countries and companies would work together to deliver 60 gigawatts (GW), or at least 4 GW a year of offshore wind capacity in Europe in the 2020s.

“With this Joint Statement, leading businesses and governments are taking the next step by committing to cooperate on the deployment of big volumes for offshore wind energy,” said Giles Dickson, chief executive officer of industry group WindEurope.

Europe currently has around 13 GW of offshore wind capacity but expects the technology to grow as costs fall, and as countries look for ways to increase their low-carbon electricity options to help meet emission reduction targets.

Recent bids for offshore wind in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, have seen costs fall by up to 48 percent in the last two years, and the technology is expected to be competitive with new conventional generation, such as gas power plants before 2030, the joint statement said.

A report published by WindEurope on Tuesday said 25 percent of the EU’s electricity demand could be met by offshore wind energy at an average cost of 54 euros/megawatt hour in the most favourable locations.

The EU has a target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2030. (Reporting by Susanna Twidale, editing by David Evans)