The member countries of the Pentalateral Energy Forum (Pentalateral Forum) and the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) will be meeting in Brussels today to discuss current issues. In addition, they are expected to conclude an important offshore agreement with the United Kingdom (UK). Sven Giegold, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, will sign the agreement on behalf of Germany.

The Pentalateral Forum aims to strengthen regional electricity trading within the European Union and to speed up the expansion of renewable energy. The items on today’s agenda include security of energy supply, crisis management for this winter and the coming winter, and plans for a long-term vision for the European energy system until 2050. Such a long-term perspective is essential to maintain a focus on the common goal of decarbonisation by the middle of the century in spite of the gas crisis.

The North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) in the field of offshore energy plays a particularly important role in this context, As Brexit marks the end of the UK’s membership in the NSEC, a new framework needs to be created for the future cooperation in the field of offshore wind. To this end, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed in Brussels today for a relaunch of operative cooperation with the UK – also for Germany. The goals of the MoU in particular include common offshore wind farms, interconnectors and the production of hydrogen (offshore electrolysis) to generate substantial electricity and hydrogen imports in the future. This is particularly important for the economic policy and for the security of energy supply. Strengthening the economic relations after Brexit offers great opportunities for German companies. Collaboration in the field of the use of offshore wind improves energy security. The United Kingdom is part of a different climate zone of the North Seas than Germany.

Sven Giegold said: "Especially in times of the energy crisis, it is of inestimable value that we closely coordinate security of supply and crisis management and work together with our neighbours of the Pentalateral Forum. I am also particularly pleased that together with the other North Seas countries we intend to sign an agreement with the UK this evening on working together on offshore wind. We are delighted that the United Kingdom will be back on board the North Seas cooperation. We will thus be able to develop specific common offshore projects with this important partner country to the benefit of our supply of green electricity."

In the context of the Pentalateral Forum, the energy ministries of the following countries work together on electricity market issues: Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland.

The North Seas Energy Council (NSEC) is a cross-border cooperation project between European North Seas countries and the European Commission. Apart from Germany, the member countries include Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Following Brexit, the United Kingdom had withdrawn from the NSEC and will again be part of the cooperation after today’s signing of the agreement.

Details about offshore wind energy in the context of the Pentalateral Forum:

  • At around 10 GW (50 GW by 2030), the UK accounts for the largest installed offshore wind capacity in Europe by far;
  • German figures: 7.8 GW at present, 30 GW by 2030, 40 GW by 2035 and 70 GW by 2045;
  • the UK’s power generation capacity potential totalling more than 600 GW and a domestic need of about 100 GW by 2050 can open up major opportunities for Germany.