Countries holding offshore wind tenders should open those up for land-locked European nations, Luxembourg's energy minister Claude Turmes demanded at the opening of WindEurope Offshore 2019.
Turmes said his plea was not primarily geared towards his own land-locked country, but had EU members in mind that have not been at the forefront of the transition towards renewables, such as the Czech Republic or Slovakia.
“Why do you think they are stubbornly [remaining] in the old [energy] world?” Turmes, a former green party member of the European Parliament, asked the audience.
“Because they have a less competitive edge on their solar and wind. You have to open your national tenders for land-locked countries so that they also gain access to what will be the cheapest energy, which I think will be offshore wind.”
Turmes also cautioned that countries active in offshore wind mustn’t “overstretch cost reduction.”
“You cannot squeeze out the last drop of blood from this industry.”
Instead, countries should opt for a UK-style contract for difference (CfD) support scheme, under which operators will receive a minimum remuneration per megawatt hour of power produced that is determined in a tender, but have to pay back money to the state once wholesale power prices exceed the strike price of the CfD tender.
Without a CfD system, tenders will increase stress on suppliers and developers, but projects won’t get cheaper, given the increased volatility created by power markets, Turmes cautioned.
Pieter Van Oord, the chief executive of Dutch offshore wind contractor Van Oord, during the opening session agreed, saying that the current zero subsidy environment in some European countries has “put a tremendous pressure on all of us – developers, turbine manufacturers, contractors and the supply chain.”