Offshore wind projects with a combined generating capacity of 40GW could realistically be built in Baltic Sea waters, provided there is sufficient political will and transnational cooperation, according to a report for the Baltic Sea Region Energy Cooperation (BSREC) initiative.
The Baltic Sea could emerge as one of the world’s most significant regions for offshore wind, states the report authored by GL Garrad Hassan and Deloitte. However, "substantial work" must be done to realise this potential.
Four countries are identified as not yet having the necessary financial and regulatory frameworks to allow them to achieve their stated offshore wind goals for 2020. These are: Finland, Poland, Estonia and Latvia.
Since the report was completed last April – but only released publicly today – Poland’s government has taken steps to support offshore wind with financial incentives. It has also begun issuing development rights.
Looking at the challenges facing offshore wind in the Baltic Sea region as a whole, the report makes five key recommendations:
- creation of a region-wide, long-term strategy and action plan for offshore wind
- establishment of virtual and/or physical demonstration projects involving multiple nations in two suggested locations: Gulf of Riga and northern part of Gulf of Bothnia
- improving the financial incentives to offshore wind developers and reducing development costs in the four countries identified above
- advance environmental and social screening for waters off these four nations, followed by more detailed impact assessments for the "potentially most attractive areas and sites".
Other priorities should be to create a regional integrated electricity grid that connects with European nations beyond the Baltic Sea and to develop a common approach to consenting.