EU boosts its offshore wind capacity

Nearly €800bn will be needed between now and 2050 to meet the proposed objectives, the Commission says

Photo: EU Frans Timmermans.

The Commission presented on Thursday the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy that foresees to increase Europe's offshore wind capacity from its current level of 12 GW to at least 60 GW by 2030 and to 300 GW by 2050.

The EU executive aims to complement this with 40 GW of ocean energy, floating wind and solar by 2050.

With our vast sea basins and industrial leadership, the European Union has all that it needs to rise up to the challenge, said Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, noting that already, offshore renewable energy is a true European success story. We aim to turn it into an even greater opportunity for clean energy, high quality jobs, sustainable growth, and international competitiveness, he added.

The new strategy aims to help meet the EU's goal of climate neutrality by 2050 and will ensure the protection of the environment, biodiversity and fisheries.

The growth will be based on the vast potential across all of Europe's sea basins and on the global leadership position of EU companies in the sector. It will create new opportunities for industry, generate green jobs across the continent, and strengthen the EU's global leadership in offshore energy technologies.

According to Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, Europe is a world leader in offshore renewable energy and can become a powerhouse for its global development. This Strategy sets a clear direction and establishes a stable framework, which are crucial for public authorities, investors and developers in this sector, she said.

Today's strategy outlines how we can develop offshore renewable energy in combination with other human activities, such as fisheries, aquaculture or shipping, and in harmony with nature, commented Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius. The proposals will also allow us to protect biodiversity and to address possible socio-economic consequences for sectors relying on good health of marine ecosystems, thus promoting a sound coexistence within the maritime space, he pointed out.

For promoting the scale-up of offshore energy capacity, the Commission will encourage cross-border cooperation between Member States on long term planning and deployment. This will require integrating offshore renewable energy development objectives in the National Maritime Spatial Plans which coastal states are due to submit to the Commission by March 2021.

The EU executive will also propose a framework under the revised TEN-E Regulation for long-term offshore grid planning, involving regulators and the Member States in each sea basin.

The Commission estimates that investment of nearly €800bn will be needed between now and 2050 to meet its proposed objectives.

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