Offshore Wind Development

North Sea

The North Sea holds vital potential for the global energy transition and stands to set a strong example for regions with a similar abundance of offshore wind resources.

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Topical Summaries

North sea fish boat 2
North sea wind farm
North sea offshore station
North sea fish boat 1
North sea offshore transmission
North sea fish boat 2
North sea wind farm
The North Sea holds vital potential for the global energy transition and stands to set a strong example for regions with similar abundance of offshore wind resources. This area is particularly well-suited to offshore wind because the sea depths are low and the wind conditions are exceptionally favorable; it is currently home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Several European countries border The North Sea, making it a key learning lab for multilateral collaboration. In addition to governmental bodies, there are considerable wind industry and research resources available through nearby Denmark. Countries bordering the North Sea region are working to develop a “hub-and-spoke” model of offshore wind energy distribution to improve efficiency and better account for variable wind volume, a collaborative process which could provide an important template for other areas around the world. Despite its renewable energy potential, the North Sea is also the site of many competing uses, including plans to exploit fossil fuel reserves—which would place net zero emissions goals in jeopardy. It will be critical to many locations around the world to see how such challenges can be navigated moving forward. The plans for a North Sea energy island will likely play a key role in helping Europe phase out fossil fuels, accelerating the green transition. This project will be the first artificial island constructed to supply renewable energy to several countries. It will promote new standards for the buildout of offshore wind power while being based on sustainable construction and design. Offshore wind in the European Union must grow to 300 gigawatts (GW) to reach climate neutrality by 2050. As of 2023, the North and Baltic Seas have approximately 52 GW of wind power capacity in the announced or pre-construction phases, and just 7.7 GW under construction, leaving much room for development toward climate targets.

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Offshore Wind Development North Sea

Offshore Wind Targets in 2030 and 2050 (Gigawatts)


In 2023, nine countries participated in the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) signed the Ostend Declaration, agreeing to update the capacity targets announced from the Esbjerg Decla... Read More

Articles and Resources

  1. An EU Strategy to harness the potential of offshore renewable energy for a climate neutral future, European Commission COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS, November 19 2020
  2. Cost Evaluation of North Sea Offshore Wind Post 2030 Witteveen Bos and ECN TNO, February 4, 2019
  3. Energy Island Project in the North Sea – Policies International Energy Agency, 3 March. 2022
  4. Global Offshore Wind Report 2022 Global Wind Energy Council, June 29, 2022
  5. North Sea Energy Island, June 7, 2022
  6. North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme 
  7. Ostend Declaration Of Energy Ministers On The North Seas As Europe’s Green Power Plant Government of Germany, April 24, 2023
  1. Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2023 International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi and International Labour Organization, Geneva, Sep 28, 2023
  2. Spatial study North Seas 2030 –offshore wind development commissioned by the North Seas Energy Cooperation(NSEC) Royal HaskoningDHV, Retrieved from European Commission, Nov 3, 2022
  3. The Declaration of Energy Ministers  on The North Sea as a Green Power Plant of Europe, 2022
  4. The Esbjerg Declaration on the North Sea as a Green Power Plant of Europe, 2022
  5. The North Sea Summit Ostend 24th of April 2023
  6. The North Seas Energy Cooperation European Commission, Last updated: November 3, 2022
  7. Towards the first hub-and-spoke project North Sea Wind Power Hub Programme, 2021