For Europe to Meet Offshore Wind Targets, $7,9B in Port Investments Needed, Report Says


Some €6.5 billion (around $7,9 billion) in port infrastructure investments will be necessary for Europe to reach its 2030 offshore wind objectives, according to WindEurope.

WindEuope, which says that ports are key to offshore wind development, has called for the European Commission to develop a Ports Strategy "and recognize the societal and ecological value of ports."

"To deliver the offshore wind expansion set out in the EU’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, Europe’s ports must expand and add new infrastructure," WindEurope said Thursday.

"Ports are central to offshore wind. All the turbines and equipment are transported through them. They’re the base for the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. They’re a magnet for much of the supply chain. And they’ll be a hub for the production and transport of renewable hydrogen from offshore wind," WindEnergy said.

"Europe is embarking on a huge expansion of offshore wind. From 25 GW today to more than 400 GW by 2050. Europe cannot deliver this without huge investments in port infrastructure. In heavy-loading quaysides, deep berths, supply chain and hydrogen infrastructure - and in that crucial commodity: space. Europe needs to invest €6.5bn in its ports now just to deliver the offshore wind expansion planned for 2030," the association which has 400 members including wind turbine makers, said.

Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO said: "Ports are essential for offshore wind. They’re a vital part of the supply and logistics chain that’s needed for the installation, assembly, operation, and maintenance of offshore wind farms. We can’t expand offshore without also expanding and upgrading Europe’s port infrastructure."

Europe's offshore wind plans for 2030 require around €6.5 billion in port infrastructure investment, WindEurope said, and this is just to meet the 203 targets.

Payback in 5 years

WindEurope estimates that €6.5bn of investment in port infrastructure is needed to just to deliver Europe’s offshore wind targets for 2030.

"These investments would pay back in just five years. The development of port infrastructure is commonly a matter for local, regional and national authorities. But given the strategic importance of ports to fulfilling the EU’s goals for offshore renewable energy, the European Commission should develop a strategy for the development of port infrastructure. And it should mobilize financial instruments to support the necessary investments," WindEurope added.

WindEurope has also called for governments to ensure that ports are reflected in their national recovery strategies. 

The association said that the EU's €673bn Recovery and Resilience Facility, aim is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions,  offered an unprecedented opportunity to make Europe’s ports fit for a green and renewable future.

"With growing volumes of offshore wind, ports are the perfect hubs for green energy. The offshore wind supply chain is often located in or around ports. Ports are then integrated into wider industrial ecosystems, and they will play a key role in the decarbonization, e.g. chemicals and refineries in coastal industrial clusters - through the renewable energy for which they serve as a hub”, says Dickson said.

"Ports are a magnet for much of the offshore wind supply chain. Over the next decade ports will also play a key role in upscaling Europe’s renewable hydrogen infrastructure. They’re a natural location for electrolyzers, and many electrolysis projects at ports are already being developed. Renewable hydrogen produced in ports can be stored locally and consumed in them local industrial ecosystem. It can also be used as a fuel for heavy-duty transport or further processed to ammonia for use in shipping," WindEurope said.

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