Offshore Wind Energy: Harnessing the Baltic Sea’s Potential for a Sustainable Future

The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) has participated in the Save the Baltic Sea information initiative, launched in Sweden on 19 June 2023 in collaboration with Svenska Dagbladet and Take a moment to read an article by Grzegorz Poznański, Director General of the CBSS, highlighting offshore wind energy as a promising solution for a sustainable future.

“Energy security and the fight against climate change are crucial for the future of our region, continent and planet” – this is one of the statements that the Foreign Ministers of most Baltic Sea countries issued in May earlier this year when they met to discuss how offshore wind could help to increase energy independence and resilience in the Baltic Sea Region.

In June, at the Ministerial Session of the CBSS, the Foreign Ministers further underlined “the shared goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050” and “the importance of reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels”. 

One thing is for sure: our efforts on energy security and reducing our use of oil and gas, especially of Russian origin, must go hand in hand with environmental considerations. As beautiful as it is, our Baltic Sea is unfortunately one of the most heavily polluted seas in the world, particularly affected by eutrophication and climate change. Indeed, our sea warms much faster than the global average.

Yet, the Baltic Sea itself can offer part of the solution. Experts estimated that the Baltic Sea contains an overall capacity of 93 GW in offshore wind energy. To put this figure into perspective, a standard nuclear powerplant has, on average, an energy generation capacity of 1 GW. 

Currently, with less than 5 GW of operational energy generation capacity (with more under development), the Baltic Sea presents an enormous opportunity for leveraging one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources. In total, the Baltic Sea could provide over a third of the EU’s offshore wind capacity required by 2030.

In most Baltic Sea countries, our shared ambition is now to speed up the implementation of offshore wind power generation. We therefore focus on an active engagement with not only governments but also the private sector and civil society. The rapid expansion of offshore wind energy can only be achieved if we are all pulling in the same direction. 

What’s more, jointly tackling offshore wind will serve to strengthen regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. It will strengthen our unity and contribute to establishing a shared regional identity, at a time when the resilience of our societies is being tested by exceptional geopolitical events. 

As our Foreign ministers put it, offshore wind can be an “important contribution to our endeavours to combat climate change, increase energy security and independence, and reduce energy prices”. If we want to continue benefitting from the Baltic Sea, we have a duty to preserve its health. With offshore wind energy, we have a unique opportunity to do both.

The latest issue of the magazine “Save the Baltic Sea” (“Rädda Östersjön”) is available in Swedish here.