Members of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) and the UK have agreed to increase cooperation for the development of offshore renewable energy.
The eight current NSEC member states, the UK and the European Commission signed a memorandum of understanding that recognises the important role for offshore renewables in reaching climate and clean energy targets.
The cooperation agreement aims to facilitate the planning and development of specific offshore renewable projects, including offshore grids.
The move follows an NSEC Ministerial meeting in Dublin last September that set a target of at least 260GW of offshore wind energy by 2050, which will represent more than 85% of the EU-wide ambition of reaching at least 300GW by 2050.
Irish Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said: “I welcome today’s milestone agreement, which I and our Irish team have been determined to achieve under the Irish Co-Presidency of the NSEC, and which builds upon the momentum of the landmark meeting and agreement we reached in Dublin.
“When it comes to realising the potential of offshore wind, it is best that we work in unity, that we transcend borders, that we set agreed targets, and then cooperate to achieve them.
“Working as a united Europe, we can ensure that we always have energy somewhere. That can be from the enormous potential of our North Atlantic and North Seas when it’s windy, from the South when it is sunny or from the hydro-capacity of the Alps in the centre of the continent.”
He added: “Through this cooperation, and by sharing and ensuring that we are always producing energy somewhere, we can look forward with some certainty to reducing our reliance on imported and expensive fossil fuels, and to delivering secure and affordable homegrown energy for European households and businesses.”