Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his Economics Minister Robert Habeck traveled from Berlin, and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen came from Brussels.

In addition, the heads of government of Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands.

In mid-May, the top politicians met in the Danish port city of Esbjerg to announce one of the most ambitious expansion projects in the world for the climate-friendly generation of electricity.

Thousands of new sea wind turbines, higher than Cologne Cathedral, are to turn the North Sea into a "green power plant".

This is what the "Esbjerg Declaration" says, which the heads of government signed at their summit meeting.

Marcus Theurer

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

  • Follow I follow

The expansion targets agreed on the Scandinavian beach are gigantic: by 2030, the power generation capacity in the North Sea is to increase from the current 15 gigawatts to 65 gigawatts, and by the middle of the century a tenfold increase to 150 gigawatts is targeted.

For comparison: This roughly corresponds to the installed capacity of 34 large lignite-fired power plants.

Politicians are stepping up the pace because Europe's major green conversion in the energy sector is no longer just about climate protection.

The Ukraine war and the looming end to oil and gas imports from Russia make the matter even more urgent.

It is now also a question of securing Europe's energy supply without fossil fuels from Siberia.

The energy transition should start the Putin turbo.

The only problem is that now, of all times, when it is needed more urgently than ever before, the European wind power industry, which is supposed to deliver all the new turbines, is in a desolate state.

The years of hesitant expansion of wind energy and cost increases have hit the companies hard.

In the German wind power industry alone, tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in the past six years.

"We are all red or crimson"

Nobody is having fun in this business at the moment, reports Jochen Eickholt.

"We are all red or deep red," summarizes the boss of the wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa the earnings situation of the industry.

The company, a subsidiary of the Munich industrial group Siemens Energy, is the second largest wind power manufacturer in Europe and the third largest in the world.

But the company is chronically in deficit.

Eickholt, an experienced crisis manager, has been on board for four months.

He is the third CEO at Siemens Gamesa in less than two years.

It's burning.

And Eickholt is the fireman.

The major shareholder Siemens has just announced a 2.8 billion euro write-down on its stake in Siemens Energy due to the wind power misery.

The competition is no better.

The world market leader Vestas from Denmark suffered an operating loss of more than 300 million euros in the first quarter, and the Hamburg-based wind power manufacturer Nordex is also preparing its shareholders for an annual loss.

The company closes its rotor blade production in Rostock and relocates production to India and Mexico, among other places.

500 jobs are at stake on the Baltic Sea.

Vestas had already closed a factory in Brandenburg last autumn.

"This crisis is affecting all of us," says J├╝rgen Zeschky, head of the Lower Saxony wind power manufacturer Enercon.