EU Proposes $1 Trillion Investment in Offshore Renewable Energy

EC proposed EU investment in offshore energy
(file photo)

Published Nov 19, 2020 5:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

The European Commission has released the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy, calling for efforts to boost investments to achieve a climate-neutral Europe. Citing the vast potential across all of Europe's sea basins, the initiative seeks to strengthen leadership in offshore energy while creating new green jobs.

The strategy proposes increasing 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 EC aims to complement this with 40 GW of ocean energy and other emerging technologies such as floating wind and solar by 2050. They estimate that an investment of nearly €800 billion (nearly $1 trillion) will be needed between now and 2050 to meet their objectives.

Calling for the ramping up of investment in offshore renewables, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, “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.”

To promote the scale-up of offshore energy capacity, the EC said it will encourage cross-border cooperation on long term planning and deployment. The plan will require integrating offshore renewable energy development objectives in the national plans the coastal states will be submitting to the EC in March 2021. The EC will also propose a framework for long-term offshore grid planning. 

“Europe is a world leader in offshore renewable energy and can become a powerhouse in its global development. 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,” said Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson. “We need to boost the EU's domestic production to achieve our climate targets, feed the growing electricity demand, and support the economy in its post-Covid recovery.” 

To help achieve the goals and generate the needed investment, the EC committed to a series of actions, including proving a clear framework for member states while also clarifying the electricity market rules. The EC will also provide a dedicated platform for offshore renewables which can help to support the needed improvements in manufacturing capacity and port infrastructure along with training the skilled workforce needed to sustain higher installation rates.

“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,” said Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevi?ius. “The proposals will also allow us to protect biodiversity and to address possible socio-economic consequences for sectors relying on the good health of marine ecosystems, thus promoting a sound coexistence within the maritime space.”

The European Commission highlighted the rapidly growing global market for offshore renewable energy, notably in Asia and the United States, saying it provides opportunities for EU industry. Through its Green Deal diplomacy, trade policy, and the EU's energy dialogues with partner countries, the commission believes it will support global uptake of these technologies.