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EU Calls for Faster Development of Renewable Offshore Wind Energy

European Parliment calls for faster development of offshore wind farms
European Parliment supports faster development of offshore wind farms (file photo)

Published Feb 18, 2022 8:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

The European Parliament reiterated its strong support for offshore renewable energy while also adopting a report that calls on member states to accelerate and expand their use of the technology. The members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the report while saying that renewable energy must be deployed on an unprecedented scale. They stressed the urgency of improving and expanding existing infrastructure while saying that many member states are lagging behind in the necessary switch to renewables.

"The offshore renewable energy strategy is key to the green transition, where time is of the essence,” Morten Petersen, a Danish political told the assembly. “We need lots of green electricity to fulfill our climate objectives and the offshore renewable energy strategy is absolutely essential in this regard."

According to the European Commission, the energy production targets for offshore renewable energy must be at least 60 GW by 2030 and 340 GW by 2050. This is considered to be a critical component of the EU’s energy strategy. The members of parliament agreed that a net-zero emissions economy requires renewable energy to be deployed.

The report, however, voted on by the members stresses that meeting the 2030 and 2050 targets requires the faster deployment of offshore renewable energy and that maritime space and coasts must be managed more sustainably. They highlighted that the cost of offshore wind has fallen dramatically in the last two decades, declining by 48 percent between 2010 and 2020 according to the report, making it one of the most competitively priced sources of energy. The report was adopted with 518 votes to 88, with 85 abstentions.

“Today's vote shows that we all understand the urgency of the matter and that we are putting offshore renewable energy front and center in the fight against climate change,” said Petersen. “We need to introduce time limits, and remove the many barriers that are still standing in the way of a fast and successful integration of renewables in Europe.”

Among the recommendations adopted by the parliament is on how to deploy offshore wind more quickly in the EU. They stressed the importance of shortening procedures to get a permit and called on the member states to set up a transparent process. They also recommended considering introducing time limits for issuing permits where necessary.

The report also expressed the belief that the EU is a technological leader in the offshore renewable energy production sector and could expect a significant economic boost by supporting the growth of clean energy production. The members also said that offshore wind farms can benefit marine biodiversity if designed and built sustainably, but must coexist alongside other activities, such as fishing and maritime transport. They stress that work needs to be done for the public to accept offshore wind and to convince citizens that renewable energy is key to achieving energy independence and security of supply. Finally, they also called for an EU-wide landfill ban on decommissioned wind turbine blades by 2025.