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Renewable Energies & Hydrogen Countries with Cooperation Agreements

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UK

Energy Sector:Offshore Wind, Hydrogen

Category:Countries with Cooperation Agreements

Region/Province:n.a.

The UK is almost halfway to ending its domestic contribution to climate change thanks to the efforts of successive governments, and in 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to set a binding target for net-zero emissions by 2050.

In 2022, the British Government developed the Net Zero Strategy, setting out policies and proposals for decarbonizing all sectors of the UK economy as an effort to meet the net-zero target.

Key policies for the power sector, fuel supply and hydrogen include:

  • full decarbonization of the power system by 2035
  • 50 GW of offshore wind, including 5 GW of floating offshore wind by 2030
  • 5 GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030
  • Launching additional public fund and mobilizing private investment
  • Providing support for creating new jobs

In the first quarter of 2023, renewables filled around 48% of the UK’s electricity generation. Renewables is bringing an unprecedented opportunity for the UK to build back greener and level up the country with new skilled, high-wage jobs and rebuild better from the pandemic.

Offshore Wind

Offshore wind has been a successful story for the UK’s energy sector, mainly enabled by the political vision. With 13.9 GW of offshore wind fully commissioned at over 40 wind farms, today the UK secures its top spot in the European offshore wind industry. There is also a project pipeline of around 77 GW across 80 offshore projects that are either under construction, in development or planned in future seabed leasing auctions.

The continued investment and technology innovation also reinforce the UK as a world leader in offshore wind. For instance, the UK is among the first European countries which has a technology innovation and research center for offshore renewable energy (Catapult). It uses its unique facilities, research, and engineering capabilities to bring together industry and academia to drive innovation and commercialization in renewable energy. Most recently, the first digital autonomous and robotics engineering center (DARE) was opened at the Catapult. The DARE center is a first-of-its-kind and will provide developers, researchers, and industry with the opportunity to test, demonstrate and commercialize innovative digital and robotic products and services for the offshore renewable energy market.

The UK’s offshore wind market is also underpinned by its commercially mature auction design. Contracts for Difference (CfD) is the UK’s government’s main support mechanism for low-carbon electricity generation.

Hydrogen

Within the UK, Scotland serves as the global forefront for testing innovative hydrogen solutions. At present, Scotland is leading the way with various renewable and low-carbon projects, aiming to provide sustainable solutions for a greener future for everyone. With 10% of Europe’s tidal energy flows along the coastlines, Scotland also has significant offshore wind potential to produce abundant renewable hydrogen. The ambition of building the hydrogen sector has been clearly made in the Scottish Hydrogen Action: 5 GW of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045.

The Scottish Government has launched a £180 million package of funding (Emerging Energy Technologies Fund) to provide capital support to accelerate renewable and low-carbon infrastructure projects and unlock the private investments that will be essential to deliver on the bold targets. Within the framework of the funding, a special innovation scheme is designed to support and enable private businesses to demonstrate, test and further develop innovative technologies in various pilot projects, e.g. storage system, offshore-hydrogen-generation, and portable electrolyze.

The international competitiveness of Scottish hydrogen lies mainly in the transport costs (€0.40 per kilogram via pipeline versus €1.40 per kilogram by ship from other countries). In the overall calculation, incl. transport costs, there will be a small price advantage of approx. €0.10 per kilogram.

Ostend Declaration

In April 2023, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway and the UK joined the Ostend Declaration which recalls the declaration on the North Sea as a Green Power Plant of Europe in Esbjerg signed by the energy ministers of Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands in May 2022. The nine countries aim to more than double the total 2030 capacity of offshore wind from 120 GW to 300 GW by 2050. Within the scope of the political agreement, a number of bilateral deals were signed on the sidelines. For instance, the UK and Germany will work together to identify potentials for hybrid cooperation projects for offshore wind generation and interconnection on the North Sea. The UK and the Netherlands agreed to build a multi-purpose interconnector “Lionlink” to enable cross-border electricity transmission and trade between the two countries. This project is regarded as first step towards integrated North Sea grid.

UK Germany Energy and Climate Partnership

The UK and German Governments signed the Energy and Climate partnership in November 2023 to help secure safe, affordable and clean energy for consumers in both nations for the long term and foster energy security. Within the scope of agreement, both countries mainly commit to

  • enhangcing cooperation in renewables, especially offshore wind and electricity interconnection.
  • sharing industry knowledge and expertise to improve the exploration of carbon capture, utilization and storage.
  • sharing best practices and lessons learned on decarbonization, energy efficiency and net-zero policies.

The bilateral Energy and Climate partnership also includes the UK-German hydrogen partnership that aims to strengthen the role of the low-carbon hydrogen sector, in particular from renewable sources and commitments to jointly developing the global hydrogen economy.

In April 2022, cluster EEHH and Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to advance cooperation in the field of hydrogen. Both organizations have agreed to implement regular exchange, joint events and marketing activities within the scope of the partnership.

Sofia Offshore Wind Farm

The 1.4 GW Sofia Offshore Wind Farm consisting of 100 Siemens Gamesa wind turbines, sited on the shallow central area of the North Sea known as Dogger Bank, is the largest offshore wind project in RWE's current portfolio.

The project is now under construction and is being carried out in close collaboration with suppliers, stakeholders, statutory bodies, and the authorities. The sheer scale and size of the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm will offer significant economic opportunities for the UK, with potential supply chain benefits, infrastructure and associated jobs and contracts.

The Sofia Offshore Wind Farm is expected to be fully operational in 2026.

Hydrogen Backbone Link

The feasibility study “Hydrogen Backbone Link” focused on the analysis and investigation of critical hydrogen transport infrastructure required to deliver a cost-effective pipeline solution. In the next step, the process in connection with the construction and operation of the pipeline will be evaluated. The study will also show the possible route of one of the pipelines: from various geographical points in the north/northwest of Scotland through Norwegian-Danish waters to Emden, Germany. The new pipelines could enable Scotland to serve up to 10% of Europe’s prognosed hydrogen import demand by the mid-2030s.