Shallow waters, low waves, stable wind conditions and proximity to the coastline should make the Baltic Sea among the world’s most attractive locations for the development of offshore wind. However, development to-date has been limited, lagging noticeably behind progress made in the neighbouring North Sea.
In a recent report for the EU Commission, THEMA, in cooperation with COWI and Ea Energy Analyses, looks at the region’s potential, possible scenarios for deployment and concrete actions that can be undertaken to unlock the region’s potential.
A key conclusion from the study is that offshore wind in the Baltic Sea is likely to form part of the least-cost path to meeting the EU’s decarbonisation objectives. In order to achieve this, a common vision among Member States in the region should be developed and they should cooperate on the deployment of the best resources, grid development, and the alignment of regulatory frameworks.
The study sets out a possible roadmap and action plan for the efforts needed to support offshore wind development in the Baltic Sea in future.
Among the barriers that prevent the efficient deployment of offshore wind, the study highlights the need to improve some national licensing procedures, integrate regional offshore ambitions into long-term grid planning and cooperate among Member States to ensure power from the lowest cost sites can get to those markets where the power is most needed.
The study makes clear the enormous technical potential of the Baltic Sea, identifying 93 GW of potential capacity spread across 187 sites. If fully developed, these sites could generate around 325 TWh/year. Scenario analysis of the energy market to 2050 shows that some of this potential is likely to become cost-competitive with other forms of generation by 2030.
The report includes a couple of pioneering elements, including grid modelling of the entire region surrounding the Baltic Sea.