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EU plans ambitious increase in offshore wind capacity

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EU plans ambitious increase in offshore wind capacity

Wind turbines - Photo by Petr Kratochvil

(BRUSSELS) - EU plans for a fivefold increase in Europe's offshore wind capacity by 2030, were outlined Thursday by the Commission in a new strategy for renewables, including ocean energy and emerging technologies.

The plans, aimed at helping to meet the EU's goal of climate neutrality by 2050, propose 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.

They would be complemented with 40 GW of ocean energy and emerging technologies such as floating wind and solar by 2050.

The EU executive's plans are based on what it sees as a vast potential across all of Europe's sea basins and on the global leadership position of EU companies in the sector. This, it says, will create new opportunities for industry, generate green jobs across the continent, and strengthen the EU's global leadership in offshore energy technologies. It will also protect the environment, biodiversity and fisheries.

"Europe is a world leader in offshore renewable energy and can become a powerhouse for its global development," said Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson: "We must step up our game by harnessing all the potential of offshore wind and by advancing other technologies such as wave, tidal and floating solar."

To promote 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 Commission 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 €800 billion will be needed between now and 2050 to meet its proposed objectives. To help generate and unleash this investment, the Commission will:

  • Provide a clear and supportive legal framework. To this end, the Commission today also clarified the electricity market rules in an accompanying Staff Working Document and will assess whether more specific and targeted rules are needed. The Commission will ensure that the revisions of the State aid guidelines on energy and environmental protection and of the Renewable Energy Directive will facilitate cost-effective deployment of renewable offshore energy.
  • Help mobilise all relevant funds to support the sector's development. The Commission encourages Member States to use the Recovery and Resilience Facility and work together with the European Investment Bank and other financial institutions to support investments in offshore energy through InvestEU. Horizon Europe funds will be mobilised to support research and development, particularly in less mature technologies.
  • Ensure a strengthened supply chain. The Strategy underlines the need to improve manufacturing capacity and port infrastructure and to increase the appropriately skilled workforce to sustain higher installation rates. The Commission plans to establish a dedicated platform on offshore renewables within the Clean Energy Industrial Forum to bring together all actors and address supply chain development.

Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy

Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy - background guide

Factsheet on the Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy

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