Round Table Discussion: Towards a Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition

Offshore wind energy has emerged as a crucial global strategic priority, and the European Union’s marine renewable energy targets for 2023 demand immediate action. Recognising the urgent need to unlock the vast potential of low-carbon energy in their respective marine territories of the Black Sea, industry leaders and policymakers in the region have taken the initiative to form the Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition. The primary objective of the round table discussion Towards a Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition hosted by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) project partner Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) is to gather the prospective partners and to discuss and define the future work of the coalition.

The Energy Policy Group (EPG), in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Democracy from Bulgaria, the Turkish Offshore Wind Energy Association, and the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association, launched the Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition (BSREC) – а dynamic platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration in the deployment of zero-carbon marine renewable energy and infrastructure in a nature-friendly way.

The inaugural meeting of the Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition was held on 13 June 2023 in Sofia, where EPG was represented by Alina Chirita, Head of Energy Systems, and Mihai Constantin, EPG Researcher. Alongside experts representing the organising associations, the roundtable was completed by Lilyana Pavlova, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Moritz Seiler, Head of the Economic Section, Embassy of Germany to Bulgaria, Cristina Simioli, Programme Manager of Offshore Energy and Nature at Renewable Grid Initiative, Ana-Maria Seman, Regional Climate Lead of World Wildlife Fund CEE, Assoc. Prof. Nikolay Valchev, Director of the Institute of Oceanology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, George Visan, Director of the Energy Market Division at Transelectrica, the Romanian Transmission System Operator, Liviu Gavrila, Vice President of the Wind Energy Association, Romania and Veli Bilgihan Yaşacan, Vice President of the Black Sea Offshore Energy Federation.

The speakers agreed that the Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition is a key instrument for creating a shared vision for renewable energy in the Black Sea, considering the economic, social, and environmental implications of offshore wind energy development.

“Unlocking the offshore wind energy potential in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe is critical to achieving medium-term energy transition objectives in line with European policy priorities. Offshore wind power has the potential to improve energy security by enhancing the balancing capacity of the electricity system, particularly during off-peak hours, and reducing reliance on baseload generation with a higher emission factor,” says Martin Vladimirov – the Director of the Energy and Climate Program at the Center for the Study of Democracy.

“The Black Sea Renewable Energy Coalition will be an informal networking structure, whose aim is to align conflicting interests of project developers, environmental organizations, tourism industry, grid operators and other affected economic actors related to the development of the offshore energy industry in the Black Sea region. The Coalitions replicates and extends the successful experience of the European Offshore Coalition for Energy and Nature (OCEAN) moderated by Renewables Grid Initiative. Stakeholders from these sectors will be invited to join the Coalition as members and collaborators in its working groups. During the implementation of this project, the discussions of the working groups will be accompanied by members of the OCEaN or RGI secretariat to ensure best practices transfer from more advanced offshore energy markets to the new coalition. In this way, the replication and extension of the OCEaN model to European emerging markets will be enabled,” Martin Vladimirov adds during a recent EUKI interview.

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