Dr Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and Patron of the WINDFORCE 2023 Conference in Bremerhaven from 12 – 14 June 2023.
In the past few months, we have accomplished a great deal in a remarkably short period of time. Thanks to the concerted efforts of business leaders, policymakers and society, we have taken hold of the energy crisis that was triggered by the Russian war of aggression. Nevertheless, the crisis is not yet overcome; we are still feeling its effects, such as higher prices. In parallel to managing the crisis, we need to reposition ourselves structurally to make our energy supply more independent and resilient in the long term.
The rapid and determined expansion of renewable energy has top priority, because only by harnessing the energy of the wind and sun, which nobody owns, will we succeed in bringing electricity prices down in the long term and making our energy supply more independent. The expansion of offshore wind energy plays an important role in this, as it will significantly contribute to meeting our considerable demand for green electricity and – in the future – also for green hydrogen.
We have set ourselves ambitious goals for the expansion of offshore wind energy. By 2030, at least 30 GW, and by 2045 as much as 70 GW, of green electricity is to be generated from offshore wind. In revising the Offshore Wind Energy Act last year, we have already created the basis for an accelerated offshore expansion. This means that contracts for grid connection are awarded at an earlier stage, planning and approval procedures are streamlined and expedited and the need for construction clearances is eliminated. Based on our current planning, this comprehensive revision will not only enable us to achieve our target for 2035, but to even exceed it.
In parallel, we are working to secure further areas for the generation of offshore wind energy. We will accelerate the expansion even further through the site development plan published by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency and our Offshore Realisation Agreement concluded with industry stakeholders and the participating federal states, which contains concrete timetables for planning and approval procedures and the start of construction and commissioning.
In addition to electricity from renewables, green hydrogen will play an increasingly important role in our energy supply. I am therefore very pleased that WINDFORCE 2023 is also focusing on this topic and has been able to gain Norway as a partner country.
In recent years, promising concepts for offshore hydrogen production through electrolysis have emerged. We should continue to work hard to consistently drive these forward and further expand European and international cooperation on hydrogen.
Last but not least, the expansion of national generation capacities and the development of the required hydrogen infrastructure are becoming a topic of ever greater focus. We therefore want to provide financial support for the testing of technologies for the production of green hydrogen at sea.
I thank all participants for providing their ideas and important contributions to make the energy transition a success and wish all participants an interesting and successful event.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action,
Dr Robert Habeck