Speech by King Willem-Alexander at the trilateral energy meeting Offshore Wind, Hamburg, 19 March 2015
Speech by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander at the trilateral energy meeting Offshore Wind, Hamburg, 19 March 2015
Meine sehr verehrten Damen und Herren!
Meine Frau und ich freuen uns sehr, hier bei Ihnen im Börsensaal der Handelskammer Hamburg anwesend sein zu dürfen. Zum 350-jährigen Bestehen dieser ältesten deutschen Handelskammer möchten wir Ihnen ganz herzlich gratulieren!
Herr Bürgermeister, wir danken Ihnen sehr für den freundlichen Empfang in Ihrer schönen Stadt. Einer Stadt, die Sie als Silicon Valley der erneuerbaren Energien profilieren möchten. Der perfekte Ort für diese trilaterale Konferenz!
It’s great to see that Denmark is also well represented here. Let me say to our Danish friends how good it is to see you all. Goddag! Velkommen!
Today, you’ve been talking in depth about energy issues. I’d like to thank Mr Basse Jensen for his brief ‘wrap up’. One thing is perfectly clear. Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands each have their own energy history, but more and more we share a common narrative. And in the future our dependence on each other will only grow stronger.
You are exploring practical possibilities for future cooperation. We all know why we need each other. After all, we all want the same thing: the certainty of sufficient energy supplies in the longer term, with less negative impact on the environment and the climate. And all for a reasonable price, of course. That’s why we’re here.
Few dispute the need for a global energy transition. Our energy supplies must become more sustainable. But they must also be reliable.
Particularly in these times of international tensions, the importance of reliability is high on the agenda. We need to work actively in this area, and launch our own initiatives. Because energy security for ourselves and our children is something we can’t take for granted. Far from it.
Today you have established that our countries need each other as European energy partners. In fact, today we are maintaining a tradition that began more than 60 years ago. After all, it was coal and steel that first powered the engine of European cooperation back in 1951.
Back then, our main energy source was coal. But we now know all about its damaging effects. The need to combat climate change is urgent. And offshore wind energy is one of our most powerful options. As the song says, ‘the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind’. Our three countries in particular can boast a great deal of offshore wind expertise. That’s why it makes sense to join forces.
Today you have also discussed the need to lower costs. Over the next decade, the Dutch wind sector aims to achieve cost savings of 40 per cent per megawatt-hour. That is the only way to make wind energy truly viable. Germany and Denmark are also working hard to bring down costs.
None us can solve this challenge alone. But together we hold the key. Our three countries’ individual assets complement each other perfectly.
Denmark is a pioneer and world leader in developing wind turbines. And it has helped guide us towards a clear tendering system for offshore wind that is attractive to investors.
Germany has an impressive industrial tradition, and its own Energiewende has signalled a breakthrough in sustainable energy.
And the Netherlands, for its part, is a leading player in underwater offshore technology.
Within eight years, five million households should be getting their electricity from Dutch North Sea wind. Denmark and Germany are also rapidly expanding their capacity. The North Sea is increasingly becoming a testing ground for cost-efficient wind technology. By pooling our efforts, our countries can serve as a role model for Europe and the world.
That’s crucial, especially in light of the current debate on closer EU cooperation and better coordination of our energy markets. Cleaner electricity production is a key ambition in this regard, as is reducing Europe’s dependence on external energy suppliers. The EU currently imports 55 per cent of its energy. Together we can bring that number down.
North Sea partners like Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands can use a bottom-up approach to give European cooperation a fresh boost. Together we can create practical solutions to common issues, like integrating sustainable energy into the existing energy system.
‘This cold, grey sea made the modern world possible,’ wrote Michael Pye in The Edge of the World, his history of the North Sea stretching back to the early Middle Ages. Ground-breaking innovations like modern finance, the spread of books, experimental science, fashion and free trade all sprang up around the North Sea.
Today, in our time, we have a chance to add another innovation to that impressive list. To make the North Sea a source of clean, reliable, affordable energy for millions of households and companies.
Thank you for your efforts to make this a reality. Keep innovating and keep working together!