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Eight offshore wind countries - and Luxembourg!

If you read your 'North Sea Summit' news carefully at the beginning of the week, you may have noticed Luxembourg in the list of participating countries alongside eight North Sea countries. The dwarf state has no coastline, but is still involved in the offshore wind business.

Things are rather more tranquil in the (capital) city of Luxembourg. Nevertheless, the Grand Duchy is involved with the big offshore wind states. (Image: Pixabay)Things are rather more tranquil in the (capital) city of Luxembourg. Nevertheless, the Grand Duchy is involved with the big offshore wind states. (Image: Pixabay)

So far, installed wind power in Luxembourg has remained within narrow limits. In January 2022, the Grand Duchy with its 660,000 inhabitants had 62 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 166 MW, according to Tageblatt Letzebuerg. Mainly located in the north of the country, wind energy expansion on the already small area of the state has been severely restricted by Natura 2000 protected, urbanised or radar coverage areas. However, legislation is soon to be changed to allow wind turbines to be installed near commercial areas or roads.

Fittingly, only last week the Luxembourg government presented a preliminary draft for updating the climate plan. The draft of the Luxembourg Ministry of State states: "In order to achieve the targets for the coming years and to fully commit to combating climate change, the government has adapted the targets to the changed circumstances and set them higher to an achievable extent. As part of this, existing measures are being strengthened and new ones introduced. The 2030 targets now call for a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2005 (as foreseen in the Climate Law and the previous version of the plan), an increase in the share of renewable energy in final consumption to 35-37% (compared to the 25% target in the previous plan) and a 44% improvement in energy efficiency (range of 40-44% in the previous plan)."

However, Luxembourg can only achieve the ambitious targets with the help of foreign countries. In any case, a lot of the country's electricity is imported. In 2021, it was 18.5 per cent, of which again 57.6 per cent came from Germany, 21.2 per cent from France and 21.1 per cent from Belgium. Within the framework of cooperation projects, electricity is purchased there in order to invest in renewable energy projects in other countries with this money.

And so it came to pass that Luxembourg was invited to join the illustrious circle of offshore countries at the North Sea Summit, where the Grand Duchy sat at the table with countries such as Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and the UK (plus EU representation). At the end of the summit, a declaration was signed to promote the joint use of offshore wind energy in the North Sea. Offshore wind power plants with a capacity of 120 gigawatts are to be built there by 2030. By 2050, at least 300 gigawatts are to be generated from offshore wind energy.

All the energy ministers of the participating countries and organisations can be seen in this official photo, which was also tweeted by the Ministry of Energy and Spatial Planning of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Image: Twitter).

And while Belgium's head of government Alexander De Croo said that this energy will be able to supply 300 million European households, Claude Turmes, Minister of Energy and Spatial Planning, saw his presence confirmed on Twitter: "I am in Belgium today to support one of the most ambitious EU projects: 120 GW #offshorewind in the North Sea by 2030! Luxembourg is a landlocked country & cross-border cooperation will allow our citizens and industry to benefit from this immense resources #NorthSeaSummit23". His ministry also stressed the importance for other landlocked European countries: "Offshore wind energy will play an important role in securing energy supply. Thanks to an efficient grid infrastructure, all European countries will be able to benefit from it, even landlocked countries like Luxembourg."

And so Luxembourg is getting in on the action with the big players in the offshore wind business. Specifically, the country already signed an agreement with Denmark last year: The Grand Duchy transfers a sum for imports of green electricity to Denmark, which in turn invests the money in the development of offshore wind turbines or green hydrogen. The share of energy thus produced in Denmark is then attributed to the Grand Duchy and not to Denmark. An adequate way to improve its green power balance.

The two countries have already been working together on the construction of energy islands, as reported by the Luxemburger Wort. As part of this, artificial islands are being built off the coast of Denmark, where energy produced by various offshore wind farms is bundled and the mainland is supplied with green energy. "This is a colossal undertaking and a true example of energy transition in action," said a joint contribution by the heads of state and government to Politico before the summit. All the more so for a small state like Luxembourg.

Katrin Radtke
Luxemburg, offshore, wind industry, North Sea Summit, Belgium, gigawatts, electricity, import, business, reduction, Denmark

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