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07 December 2018

Interview with Anne-Maria Ide, European Commission

Copyright: Anne-Maria Ide

Baltic InteGrid: You are part of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) working group on renewable energy chaired by the European Commission. What are the current foci of BEMIP in the field of renewable energy?

The working group aims to increase cross-border cooperation on renewable energy within the Baltic region and thereby help members of the BEMIP working group to tap their renewable energy potential in a cost-effective way. Our work programme covers all renewable energy sectors and includes best practice exchange on national policies and support measures to reach Member States’ renewable energy objectives as well as assessing options for cross-border projects under the cooperation mechanisms of the Renewable Energy Directive. Currently, the group has a particular focus on offshore wind, for which the Baltic Sea has very good natural potential.

Baltic InteGrid: What work is done under the Political Declaration on energy cooperation between the North Seas Countries and how does this relate to your work under BEMIP? Is there potential for a closer cooperation between these two developments?

Indeed, the North Seas countries have a close cooperation on energy policies. Building on the North Seas Countries' Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI) established in 2011, the involved countries signed a political declaration on energy cooperation in 2016 to expand and intensify their cooperation. The cooperation aims to facilitate a cost-effective deployment of offshore wind energy and to promote interconnections between the countries in the region. To this end, four working groups were set up on maritime spatial planning, development and regulation of offshore grids, support framework and finance for offshore wind projects as well as standards, technical rules and regulations in the offshore wind sector.

With an installed capacity of offshore wind of around 14 GW, the North Seas region is of course at a different stage of development compared to the Baltic Sea. At the same time, this means that the work and results from the North Seas cooperation can be very relevant and valuable for BEMIP members, as they can learn from the experience in the North Seas. We strongly support and facilitate such knowledge transfer and joint learning to maximise the synergies between the two cooperation fora and will continue to bring together the relevant actors from both regions.

Baltic InteGrid: The Commission has launched a study on offshore wind in the Baltic Sea. What is the aim of the study? When will final results be available?

Indeed, in 2017 the Commission launched a study to assess the potential of offshore wind deployment in the Baltic Sea region, the cost and benefits of different policy scenarios to develop those potentials, as well as their regulatory barriers. It will also develop recommendations how to overcome the barriers. In particular, it analyses suitable options for increased cooperation on offshore wind deployment in the region. The results will be available in 2019.

Baltic InteGrid: Baltic InteGrid has established the expert platform Baltic Offshore Grid Forum (BOGF) to discuss the potential and challenges of hybrid projects and meshed grids in the Baltic Sea. How could this forum add value to your work under BEMIP?

The development of hybrid projects and meshed grid solutions can strongly increase a cost-effective deployment of offshore wind by fostering a better integration of the region's electricity grids and markets. This can open the way to exploit Baltic offshore wind potentials more fully. We strongly welcome the work of the Baltic Offshore Grid Forum on this topic. The results will serve as very useful input for the BEMIP group and should also be discussed in conjunction with the BEMIP offshore wind study to maximise synergies of the different work areas.

Baltic InteGrid: Thank you!