Copenhagen, 31 August 2022 (TDI): The President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, attended the Baltic Sea Energy Security Summit, held in Denmark, on 30 August 2022.

Speech by EU Commission President

The President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, remarked:

β€œThank you so much, first of all, Mette, thank you so much for the invitation. I think that I speak in the name of all: It is a splendid place, a splendid weather and a fascinating topic you have invited us to. So thank you very much for that.

And it is urgent, you just said it. We see energy prices breaking record after record. The consequences for households and companies are no longer sustainable. And what we see is, yes, an energy crisis, but it is mainly a fossil fuel energy crisis.

So we need a green solution against this fossil fuel energy crisis. As you know, on the European level, REPowerEU is part of our answer. We are accelerating the clean energy transition with an interconnected system.

And there are three main pillars. First of all, it requires that we are saving energy, mainly fossil fuel energy. At the European level, we have agreed that all Member States jointly save 15% of energy between this August and March 2023.

The second pillar is: We need to diversify away from Russian fossil fuels to reliable, like-minded sources, mainly also to fill our storage.

And here is good news: We have reached now in the European Union an average storage filling of 80%. So we basically have reached already the amount that we have agreed on for this year. But we know that we will increase the storage filling.

And the third pillar is the main pillar, that is the knowledge that our dependency on Russian fossil fuels will only be over if we invest massively into renewable energy. And that is why we are here today. So we need clean, we need cheaper and we need home-grown power.

We need it big and we need it fast. That is why we propose to further increase our 2030 target for renewable energy to up to 45% now. This means a renewable energy capacity of around 1,250 gigawatts by 2030.

Just to put it in a frame: Today, we have 340 gigawatts of wind and solar in the European Union – or 500 gigawatts if you take biomass into the calculation. So it is thanks to you, today, too, that the European Union goals are totally within reach.

The Declaration that you will sign today here commits to multiply by seven the current offshore wind capacity in the Baltic Sea region – that is amazing – to up to 20 gigawatts by 2030. This is already one-third of the overall EU ambition for offshore wind by 2030 – one-third.

So it is evident: By working together, we can achieve more and quicker, that is the task of the day. The benefits of regional cooperation are immense.

When offshore wind turbines are connected to multiple countries, the costs are reduced, the impact on the environment is minimized, and the energy production never goes to waste because it can flow towards different markets at different times.

This is where solidarity meets sustainability and security of supply. Now, we, at the European Commission, will be supporting your work in every possible way – from planning, to permitting, to financing.

We back with full support the regional cooperation initiatives like this. Since 2008, we have worked closely together through the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan – you all know it as BEMIP high-level group.

This exemplary cooperation is on track to fully integrate the electricity systems of the Baltic states with the rest of the European Union by 2025 already.

I know, we have to accelerate. That is also the goal, to be faster there. So we did a lot of smart brains and, of course, of financing to accelerate that goal.

This Baltic electricity system integration has received continuous support from the European budget, with more than EUR 1.2 billion in financing. Here in Copenhagen, today, we are just building on that momentum.

I want to highlight, at the very end, three specific points where we can accelerate the investment in offshore wind. First, let us agree to make hybrid projects a priority when planning interconnectors and offshore generation.

Hybrid projects, which connect wind farms to more than one Member State, save up to 10% of the total project costs.

The Commission is ready to work with you to identify the incentives and, of course, to overcome the possible bottlenecks – there are always bottlenecks. So let us know so that we work on that.

A great example of cross-border cooperation is the ELWIND offshore wind project between Estonia and Latvia. And I have good news: Today, the Commission selected ELWIND as a so-called important cross-border project, so a PCI. And you know, this is good news because this makes it eligible for EU funding.

Secondly, let us make rapid progress with grid network development plans, based on common offshore commitments. The Commission, with ENTSO-E, will prepare by September technical guidance to support you in this work.

And finally, let us provide the political backing to accelerate the permitting. We all know that this is one of the biggest bottlenecks. We have put forward a proposal on the table with REPowerEU. You, the Member States, define the go-to areas.

And if you have done that, then the deployment of renewables and their connection to the grid is an overriding public interest. That is important because then we can fast-forward the permitting within one year.

So this should qualify for the most favorable procedures available in your country. Let us make it real, let us do it fast.”