Energy ministers and industry captains from Germany, Belgium and Denmark have signed a joint statement pledging to further the development of offshore wind energy in Europe.

The statement, signed at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 event welcomed the cost reductions in offshore wind achieved to date and reaffirmed the signatories’ commitment to deploy a significant volume of offshore wind power in Europe between 2020 and 2030.

According to a recent report from BVG Associates, Europe could have between 64 GW and 86 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030.

The report, ‘Unleashing Europe’s offshore wind potential: A new resource assessment’, was carried out for WindEurope and identifies the North Sea as the area with the greatest potential for future development.

It says that offshore wind could in theory generate between 2600 TWh and 6000 TWh per year at a competitive cost – €65/MWh or below, including grid connection – and using the technologies that will have been developed by 2030.

WindEurope said that the joint statement was a clear recognition of the strategic importance of offshore wind in Europe. “Ten European countries have been cooperating on the development of offshore wind energy for a year now, working to align policies, share expertise and address regulatory barriers,” said Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope. “With this joint statement, leading businesses and governments are taking the next step by committing to cooperate on the deployment of big volumes for offshore wind energy.”

Europe’s offshore wind sector has achieved steep cost reductions and met a self-imposed target of €100/MWh by 2020 ahead of time. Delivering further cost reductions will require the deployment of significant volumes of new offshore wind, says WindEurope.

“More than ever, we need countries to coordinate and lay out a clear vision,” said Samuel Leupold, CEO of Dong Energy. “A visible and steady pipeline of projects between 2020 and 2030 will allow for continued cost reductions, a thriving supply chain and continued European leadership in an increasingly international market for offshore wind.

“We welcome the joint statement and call on other governments to commit to robust volumes.”

The report from BVG Associates called on governments to commit to an ambitious deployment programme for offshore wind to 2030 and beyond, and to also encourage greater cooperation at the inter-governmental level.

Other recommendations in the report include greater coordination in the timeline of tenders across different sea basins, and facilitation of the development of international grid infrastructure, including offshore grid connection hubs.

“Quite simply, the future vitality of offshore wind depends on clear and consistent volumes in the market,” said Jens Tommerup, CEO of MHI Vestas. “Visible and reliable deployment targets will unleash investments and competition in the market. And they will drive technological breakthroughs and the continued globalisation of the industry.”