Photo: Illustration; EnBW Baltic 2 offshore wind farm; Photo: EnBW (archive)

Marienborg Declarations: Independence from Russian fossil fuels drives new offshore wind, LNG plans in the Baltics

Eight Baltic Sea countries that yesterday agreed to build sevenfold the offshore wind capacity currently installed in the Baltic Sea by 2030 have outlined their joint path to minimising the reliance on Russian fossil fuels. Along with the offshore wind buildout, the leaders of the eight countries will also cooperate on grid interconnections and LNG as a go-to fuel in the short term.

At the Baltic Sea Energy Security Summit on 30 August, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia signed two declarations.

Under the Marienborg Declaration, which sets the overall vision of how the countries will strengthen national and European independence from Russian energy and boost the green transition, the countries have committed to a combined ambition for offshore wind in the Baltic Sea region of at least 19.6 GW by 2030 – a sevenfold increase compared to the current 2.8 GW.

Based on the announced ambitions for 2030, it is expected that Denmark with 6.3 GW will have the largest offshore wind capacity in the Baltic Sea region, followed by Poland with 5.9 GW, Germany with 3.8 GW, Lithuania with 1.4 GW, Estonia with 1 GW, Sweden at 0.7 GW, Latvia at 0.4 GW and Finland at 0.1 GW.

The Summit Declaration further recognises the potential for offshore wind power in the Baltic Sea basin, which is estimated to reach up to 93 GW by 2040.

“The Baltic Sea holds a substantial but largely untapped potential for offshore wind, which can accelerate the phase out of Russian energy by replacing fossil fuels through for example electrification, increasing renewable fuels, diversifying and decarbonising gas-networks, increased sector integration and a green hydrogen economy, including necessary transmission and pipeline infrastructure”, the declaration reads.

The ambitions are part of the European Commission’s offshore wind strategy, which has a target of expansion of more than 300 GW of offshore wind by 2050 in order to reach EU climate neutrality.

“With the Marienborg Declaration and the sevenfold increase in offshore wind in the Baltic Sea, we are taking an important step for both the climate and our safety. We have now got the countries in the absolute front line more strongly engaged in the expansion of offshore wind. The goal is to say goodbye to black energy and deprive Putin of the opportunity to use energy as a weapon”, said Dan Jørgensen, Danish Climate, Energy and Supply Minister.

During the Summit, a Letter of Intent was also signed to extends the government-to-government cooperation on the development of offshore wind between Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which entered a short-term cooperation on offshore wind last year.

The cooperation was set to expire by the end of 2022, but in connection with the Baltic Sea Energy Security Summit, the four countries have agreed on longer-term cooperation, from 2023 until 2025.

Furthermore, the energy ministers from the eight countries have also signed an agreement of their own, which details on how the vision to strengthen the energy security can be implemented.

Energy Islands and LNG

In the Declaration of Energy Ministers, the energy leaders from the Baltics have agreed on how to get the countries’ electricity grids more closely connected with the continental European network through joint cross-border hybrid projects, such as energy islands.

The energy ministers will also work on strengthening political cooperation on energy security and deployment of renewable energy within the existing framework of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP), whose purpose is to create an open and integrated regional electricity and gas market between the EU countries in the Baltic Sea region.

The BEMIP members are Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Sweden as well as the European Commission, while Norway participates as an observer.

On 29 August, ahead of the Baltic Sea Energy Security Summit, Denmark and Germany entered into an agreement on connecting the Bornholm Energy Island to Germany, enabling the offshore wind power at this Danish energy island to be sent directly to the German electricity grid and on to the rest of Europe.

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The Bornholm Energy Island, due to be completed in 2030, will comprise 3 GW of offshore wind capacity and Power-to-X capabilities.

While the answer to the threat to security of supply in the long run is renewable energy, to ensure independence from Russian energy in the short term, the eight countries have also agreed to cooperate on alternatives such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and to explore the possibilities of establishing electricity connections across the Baltic Sea region.

In the case of LNG, it was agreed that in the near future the eight Baltic Sea countries will work on expanding cooperation in the field of LNG imports, including the construction of the necessary infrastructure, such as ports and LNG terminals. 

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