WindEurope estimates €6.5bn of investment in port infrastructure will be needed by 2030 for the region to reach its offshore wind targets
Upscaling port infrastructure in Europe is “critical” for enhancing offshore wind development, says a report.
The region is aiming to ramp up its offshore wind capacity from 25 GW today to more than 400 GW by 2050 – but the analysis by trade body WindEurope notes the scale-up will not be possible without “huge investments” in port infrastructure such as heavy-loading quaysides, deep berths, supply chain, hydrogen infrastructure, and space.
The report estimates that €6.5bn ($7.9bn) of investment in port infrastructure will be needed by 2030 and calls for the European Commission to develop a Ports Strategy to recognise the “societal and ecological value of ports”.
“Ports are essential for offshore wind,” said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson. “They’re a vital part of the supply and logistics chain that’s needed for the installation, assembly, operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. We can’t expand offshore without also expanding and upgrading Europe’s port infrastructure”
Port infrastructure a “magnet” for much of the offshore wind supply chain in Europe
The development of port infrastructure, which will become a hub for the production and transport of green hydrogen from offshore wind, is commonly a matter for local, regional and national authorities.
But, given the strategic importance of ports to fulfilling the EU’s goals for offshore renewable energy, WindEurope said the European Commission should develop a strategy for the development of port infrastructure, as well as mobilise financial instruments to support the necessary investments.
At the same time, the trade body believes governments should ensure ports are reflected in their national recovery strategies.
It highlights that the €673bn ($820bn) Recovery and Resilience Facility offers an “unprecedented opportunity” to make Europe’s ports fit for a green and renewable future.
“With growing volumes of offshore wind, ports are the perfect hubs for green energy,” said Dickson. “The offshore wind supply chain is often located in or around ports.
“Ports are then integrated into wider industrial ecosystems, and they will play a key role in the decarbonisation, e.g. chemicals and refineries in coastal industrial clusters – through the renewable energy for which they serve as a hub.”
The report notes that ports are a “magnet” for much of the offshore wind supply chain. It expects that, over the next decade, they will also play a “key role” in upscaling Europe’s renewable hydrogen infrastructure.
The facilities are also a natural location for electrolysers, with many electrolysis projects at ports already being developed.
WindEurope points out that green hydrogen produced in ports can be stored locally and consumed in the local industrial ecosystem. It said the clean power source can also be used as a fuel for heavy-duty transport or further processed to ammonia for use in shipping.