Offshore wind in the North Seas is key to reaching climate neutrality, but needs a better framework

Energy transition

Offshore wind plays a key role in the energy transition to limit temperature rise to 1.5° as stated in the Paris Agreement. The North Seas Countries, including Germany, and the European Commission met today to discuss how to improve planning and cooperation to ensure offshore wind is deployed in a timely and consistent manner.

“The vast potential of the North Seas could contribute in a significant way to an increased deployment of offshore wind energy. In particular, the accelerated implementation of cross- border offshore wind projects that are interconnected among North Seas countries could unleash the potential for an efficient deployment of offshore wind energy”, says the joint statement.

“There are three aspects to keep in mind. First, offshore renewable energy installation does not happen overnight, hence the need for the EU and its Member States to improve and speed up planning and increase regional cooperation and coordination. Second, no one doubts anymore that renewables are a viable solution not only for the environment but also for the economy, so let us focus now on improving the regulatory framework to ensure we get sufficient offshore renewable energy and limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. Third, the deployment should be handled with respect for the marine ecosystem. Climate, energy and biodiversity policies should reinforce each other,” declared the director of CAN Europe, Wendel Trio.

This meeting will feed into important discussions on offshore renewable energy development that will take place under the German Presidency of the EU Council. The European Commission is expected to publish an Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy in Autumn this year that aims to support an ambitious deployment and integration of offshore wind and ocean renewable energies across the EU.

The EU’s current 2030 renewable energy target is at least 32%, which will need to be increased once a new, higher 2030 climate target is agreed.

A civil society-led energy scenario developed by CAN Europe and EEB shows that Europe can reach 100% renewables by 2040 with the right policies in place, by removing at a speedy pace all the man-made barriers to its deployment.

The North Seas Energy Cooperation is a regional energy cooperation forum between Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden to facilitate the integration of large scale offshore wind energy in the European energy markets as well as a more coordinated offshore grid development. The next meeting between the group and the European Commissioner will happen in December.

Joint Statement of North Seas Countries and the European Commission (6 July 2020)

Cristina Dascalu, communications coordinator,

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 170 member organisations active in 38 European countries, representing over 1.500 NGOs and more than 47million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.


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