In a bid to advance sustainable energy and energy security in the Baltic Sea Region, the Baltic Offshore Wind Forum was held in Berlin, Germany on 9 May 2023. Gathering Foreign Ministers and high-level representatives of Member States of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) among other stakeholders, the event focused on the potential of Baltic offshore wind power for accelerating the energy transition.
“Every wind turbine we build is an investment in our security,” said Annalena Baerbock, the German Foreign Minister and co-host of the forum, adding that investments in renewable energy sources could lead to up to three times more jobs than currently in the fossil energy industry.
Energy security has become crucial for the Baltic Sea region in light of Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, and the energy transition policy is now widely considered a security policy too.
“We reaffirm our determination to rapidly phase out Russian energy and energy carriers imports and acknowledge that the CBSS Member States cannot realise strategic energy security and independence without a steadfast energy transition,” said the CBSS Foreign Ministers in their joint “Berlin Declaration on Baltic Offshore Wind by CBSS Foreign Ministers”, or Berlin Declaration, that was adopted during the forum.
One of the key priorities of the current German Presidency of the CBSS is to boost offshore wind energy in the Baltic Sea to phase out fossil fuels and reduce energy dependency. The forum highlighted the importance of a faster energy transition to help achieve climate goals, lower energy prices, and increase energy independence and security.
European countries are leading the way in offshore wind, with the Baltic Sea housing some of the largest operational wind farms. The region’s offshore wind capacity is significant enough to supply the energy demand for the Baltic Sea region. It is estimated that the Baltic Sea holds a potential of 93 GW of offshore wind energy.
The forum emphasised the importance of close cooperation with the private sector and industrial developers for secure grid operation, optimal utilisation of grid and generation infrastructure, and cost-effective integration of offshore wind energy.
“We, as the CBSS Member States, commit to engage, cooperate and coordinate in the protection of the Baltic Sea critical energy infrastructure, [and] will actively engage, together with Energy and Climate Ministers, with the private sector and civil society on Baltic Sea offshore wind aspects,” said the Foreign Ministers in the Berlin Declaration.
In addition to diplomatic efforts and energy diplomacy, the forum highlighted the need for sufficient manufacturing capacities and the advantages and challenges of a cross-border integrated energy system. The CBSS Member States are also working towards strengthening financing instruments for rolling out wind energy, and are considering joining the Global Offshore Wind Alliance.
“For 30 years, the CBSS provided a flexible platform for political dialogue and practical cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, including for governments, other international organisations, sub-regional and local partners, academia and industry,” said Grzegorz Poznański, the Director General of the CBSS.
“Today, the CBSS can be used to implement the ideas presented in the Berlin Declaration,” he added, inviting the upcoming Finnish Presidency of the CBSS (2023-2024) to continue the work on offshore wind energy started by Germany, and further urging the CBSS Member States to provide the necessary mandate at the next CBSS Ministerial Session due to be held in Wismar, Germany, on 1-2 June 2023.
Jointly organised by the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the German Federal Foreign Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and the German Energy Agency (dena), the Baltic Offshore Wind Forum succeeded in bringing together high-level stakeholders from governments, private sectors, and civil society from all CBSS member states. It was hosted by Annalena Baerbock, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark.