Copenhagen, Denmark ( Associated Press) — Four European Union countries plan to accelerate the continent’s green transition and help reduce Russian energy imports through a major new project to build wind farms in the North Sea, Danish Prime Minister Mette Fredriksson said on Wednesday.
She said her country, along with Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, “seeks to increase its total offshore wind capacity fourfold by 2030 and tenfold by 2050.” It is planned to provide energy to 230 million European households.
(This) means that we, four of us, are able to deliver more than half of all offshore wind needed to reach climate neutrality in the EU,” Fredriksen said.
He spoke at an event in Esbjerg, 260 kilometers (162 mi) west of Copenhagen, which was attended by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Crew and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. .
Scholz said the scale of the project would be “of an unimaginable order.”
“The North Sea is the place where, with offshore wind parks, we can produce the electricity on a large scale, in large quantities, we need – and already (he) can do it today in a way that is economical. is,” he said.
The new wind farms will be built along the North Sea coasts of four countries.
Fredriksson said the project would help address the challenges posed by Ukraine and Russia’s war on climate change, which, both said, “affect the European economy and the security of our people.”
Von der Leyen, who presented an EU-wide energy package in Brussels earlier in the day, said the war in Ukraine “highlights the risks we have taken for relying too heavily on Russian fossil fuels.”
The four countries pledged to set “ambitious joint targets for at least 65 GW of offshore wind by 2030”, their energy and climate ministers said in a statement. It said they aim to “more than double our total 2030-capacity of offshore wind to at least 150 GW by 2050.”
This, he said, would provide more than half the capacity needed for the EU to reach climate neutrality.
In Brussels, the European Commission moved on Wednesday to launch plans for the entire 27-nation EU to abandon Russian energy amid the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. The commission proposed a package of about 300 billion euros ($315 billion) that includes more efficient use of fuel and a faster rollout of renewable energy.
The investment initiative by the EU’s executive branch is meant to help Russia wean itself off fossil fuels this year. The goal is to deprive Russia, the EU’s main supplier of oil, natural gas and coal, of tens of billions in revenue and strengthen EU climate policies.
“We are taking our ambition to another level to ensure that we become independent of Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible,” von der Leyen said while announcing the package in Brussels, called REPowerEU. Is.
The European Union has pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The European Commission has set an overall target of generating 300 gigawatts of offshore power by 2050.
Along with climate change, the war in Ukraine has made EU countries eager to reduce their reliance on Russian natural gas and oil. In 2021, the EU imported about 40% of its gas and 25% of its oil from Russia.
At the 11 March summit, EU leaders agreed in principle to end Russian gas, oil and coal imports by 2027.
Frank Jordan and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.
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