EWPA's blog - etea February 8, 2017
Offshore wind professionals are discussing this week development plans at the WINDFORCE Baltic Sea conference in Tallinn. The conference was opened by Kadri Simson, the Minister of Economy & Communications together with the leaders of the Estonian and German Wind Power Associations – Martin Kruus and Andreas Wellbrock.
Offshore wind energy has become a major feature in the Baltic region. Installed capacity is increasing, prices – as seen recently in the awarding of the Kriegers Flak project – are going down to a level that clearly makes wind competitive with other energy sources, and international wind farm projects and grid networks are adding momentum to this progress. With more than 100 wind energy professionals the annual WINDFORCE Baltic Sea conference provides an overview of current developments in the Baltic Sea. The two-day conference focuses on the exchange of experience and questions concerning offshore wind energy in the Baltic Sea, offering a unique insight on the challenges being faced. Following previous conferences in Sweden, Poland, Finland and Denmark, the fifth Baltic Sea event is organized by WAB e.V. and held from 8 to 9 February 2017 in Tallinn – Estonia, a Baltic trendsetter in offshore wind.
Indeed, it is Baltic projects in particular that show how well countries work together and the extent to which offshore wind energy can contribute to electricity supply at the European level. “Offshore wind energy generation could give a major boost for providing cost-effective solution for meeting our climate goals and decarbonizing our electricity supply”, explains Kadri Simson, Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure. “Being the least energy imports reliant country in EU, Estonia values highly our energy independence. Deployment of wind energy is definitely helping to maintain this strategic position, while moving towards low carbon energy mix”, she continues.
The magnitude of offshore wind energy makes it the key to a complete shift to renewable energy. “There are no more excuses why we should not do it”, strengthens Martin Kruus, Chairman of the Board of Estonian Wind Power Association. “The fact that turbines are producing more efficient wind energy than ever is a major breakthrough not only for the production of renewable energy, but as well for the local economy in every aspect. This is a new high value added industry that Europe is building up and the Baltic Sea plays an important role here”, adds Kruus.
The Baltic Sea advantage is easily accessible excellent wind sites. Moderate sea conditions means lower costs of installation, maintenance and higher availability. Offshore wind kick-off in the Baltic Sea region requires cooperation on a new level. Common market, infrastructure and innovation together with joint support mechanisms are essential to materialize this great energy potential. “This conference is a good step towards that. It is about connecting the right people in science, policy and business”, says the organizer of the conference Andreas Wellbrock, Managing Director of WAB e.V.. “As the number of installed wind farms goes up, repairs, maintenance and service have become more important factors. With all the experience now gained from operations and maintenance, the next step is to optimize costs – from investments to operations”, Wellbrock closes.