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Four countries sign deal to bring green energy to half of EU citizens by 2050

Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium signed a declaration pledging to build wind farms in the North Sea in an effort to make the EU independent from Russian energy.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (CN) — Esbjerg, a city located on the Danish west coast, has long been known by visitors for its smell of fish. Locals tend to disagree – it is the smell of money, they say.

That may be even more true today. But the money isn't coming from the fishing industry – it'll come from wind power in the North Sea.

Leaders from Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the European Union met in Esbjerg on Wednesday to sign a historic ambitious green energy plan, dubbed the Esbjerg Declaration, that will commit the countries to build wind farms in the North Sea, generating at least 150 gigawatts by 2050.

That is a tenfold increase in the EU’s current offshore wind capacity and will be enough to provide around 230 million households in the EU with green energy, which is around half of the bloc's population.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen led a press conference on Wednesday and said that the EU is facing big challenges, including both Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the climate crisis.

“Only through strong collaboration can we turn this green vision into reality,” Frederiksen said, adding that phasing out gas imports from Russia will create a greener and safer future for everyone.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also mentioned the war in Ukraine and emphasized the EU’s ambition to become independent from Russian energy.

“Putin’s war highlights the risks we have made, by making ourselves too dependent on Russian energy,” she said.

The project will demand a total investment of over $141.7 million, according to a report from Danish newspaper Finans.

In addition to wind turbines, the four countries also committed to building the necessary electricity infrastructure to harvest wind energy in the North Sea. Connecting energy islands, which are artificial islands serving as connection hubs, with the new wind farms will mean cheaper infrastructure and a safer energy supply chain in the EU.

The Esbjerg Declaration comes after the European Commission, the EU's executive body, presented the REPowerEU plan on Wednesday, another effort to cut the EU’s dependency on Russian gas and oil supplies.

The bloc aims to end this dependency by 2027 and is willing to spend up to 300 billion euros ($314 billion) to make it a reality.

Forty percent of the EU's gas currently comes from Russia.

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