Climate Action Network Europe supports the European Commission’s ambition to boost the share of renewables in our energy consumption, looking at significantly increasing the offshore renewable energy share with its Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy. A substantial increase of offshore wind can be achieved, while preserving our seas and oceans and respecting the marine ecosystem.
The current 2030 EU renewables target of at least 32% is not enough, as already in this decade renewable electricity generation should at least triple, in order for the EU to stick to its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement and limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. This should lead to renewables covering 50% of gross final energy consumption in 2030 and 100% in 2040 .
“When it comes to preventing the devastating impacts of climate change, we should not cap our ambition or overlook the potential of the solutions we have at hand, going from energy efficiency to offshore wind. While heading towards a net-zero energy system, both strongly reducing energy consumption and substantially increasing renewable energy is a must. Increasing offshore renewable energy is an important part of this trip and EU Member States need to significantly increase the deployment of sustainable offshore renewable energy”, said CAN Europe’s director, Wendel Trio.
The North Seas, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, all have potential for greater deployment of wind turbines and ocean renewable technologies.
In 2019, some 3,6 GW of offshore wind were built and although this was the highest record up to now , this rate will need to be significantly increased . For this deployment to happen, marine space should be made available through careful and coordinated planning in respect of the marine ecosystem and in line with the climate ambition.
Current offshore wind power projects have a strong national focus, with the power transmission line feeding just into one national grid.
“Offshore renewable energy does not happen overnight. Member states have to speed up the planning and work across borders to ensure that near-term action reflects long-term goals. Regional cooperation should become the guiding principle for planning and development of offshore renewable energy while reducing to the minimum the impacts on the marine ecosystem”, added Wendel Trio.
The offshore RES strategy is putting forward concrete policy and regulatory proposals to address challenges to the further deployment of offshore renewable energy.
“We need a stronger policy framework to scale up renewable energy, while protecting our oceans against harmful activities such as oil and gas exploration and extraction. Climate, energy and biodiversity policies should reinforce each other”, explained Wendel Trio.
The offshore strategy can be read here.
Notes to editors:
 In 2019, there was 22.1 GW of offshore wind capacity in the EU28 (across 12 countries, of which 9.9 GW in the UK). The majority of the turbines are in the North Sea and are bottom fixed. (WindEurope (2020). Offshore Wind in Europe. Key trends and statistics 2019.
Cristina Dascalu, communications coordinator, email@example.com