EU Targets 300 GW Offshore Wind By 2050

EU Targets 300 GW Offshore Wind By 2050

On Thursday, 19th November 2020, the EU presented its EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy, in order to help meet its goal of climate neutrality by 2050 (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_2096).

The strategy proposes 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. Alongside this, the EU Commission aims to complement this with 40 GW of ocean energy and other emerging technologies such as floating wind and solar by 2050.

In order to achieve its objective, this would require as much as EUR 789 billion in investment in wind turbines and other technologies, mostly from utilities and energy majors (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-18/europe-plans-940-billion-offshore-wind-push-to-meet-green-goal?cmpid=BBD111920_BRUS&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=201119&utm_campaign=brussels&sref=DzjLIKVJ).

Approximately two thirds of the sum are needed for grid infrastructure and most of funds are seen coming from private companies (https://balkangreenenergynews.com/eu-rolls-out-strategy-to-boost-offshore-wind-to-300-gw-by-mid-century/).

It is important to point out that the EU’s offshore wind capacity of 12 GW accounts for 42 per cent of the global total, followed by the UK with 9.7 GW and China with 6.8 GW (https://www.argusmedia.com/news/2161496-eu-raises-offshore-wind-target-to-300gw-by-2050).

The roadmap of the strategy states how to unlock the potential for wind farms at sea that’s getting cheaper every year and are more powerful than those on land. However, it is important to point out that the industry is still struggling with bureaucratic hurdles, while fierce competition for deals makes each project less profitable (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-18/europe-plans-940-billion-offshore-wind-push-to-meet-green-goal?cmpid=BBD111920_BRUS&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=201119&utm_campaign=brussels&sref=DzjLIKVJ).

EU Commission declared that, “this is feasible for a sector where Europe has gained unrivalled technological, scientific and industrial experience and where strong capacity exists already across the supply chain, from manufacturing to shipping and installation. Nonetheless, it is a very challenging horizon. It means that offshore renewable energy capacity should be multiplied by 25 times by 2050” (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/16/eu-plans-increase-offshore-windfarm-capacity).

Also, as exemplified in the published Strategy, the North Sea has a high and widespread natural potential for offshore wind energy, thanks to shallow waters and localised potential for wave and tidal energy. The Baltic Sea also has a high natural potential for offshore wind energy and some localized potential for wave energy (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52020DC0741&from=EN).

In addition to the above, the EU’s Atlantic Ocean has a high natural potential for both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind energy and good natural potential for wave and tidal energy.

Other seas of great significance are the Mediterranean Sea, that has a high potential of offshore wind energy (mostly floating), and good potential for wave energy and localised potential for tidal energy, as well as the Black Sea, that offers a good natural potential for offshore wind (bottom-fixed and floating) and localised potential for wave energy.

Moreover, the EC Commission’s firm stand in the implementation of this Strategy, is suitably depicted by what the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, stated, “Europe is a world leader in offshore renewable energy and can become a powerhouse for 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” (https://www.power-technology.com/news/european-commission-targets-300gw-offshore-wind-capacity-by-2050/).

Additionally, the EC will encourage cross-border cooperation between member states to create long-term planning and deployment to increase offshore energy capacity.

The commission plans to launch EU-wide tenders from next year, under a new renewable energy financing mechanism that aims to facilitate participation and benefits with land-locked EU states (https://www.argusmedia.com/news/2161496-eu-raises-offshore-wind-target-to-300gw-by-2050).

Furthermore, hybrid offshore wind farms will play an important role in the planned increase in renewable capacity. Up to 7 GW of these projects are already in the pipeline. On parallel lines, floating offshore wind capacity is expected to grow. Europe has two small floating wind farms today but will have 300 MW by 2022 and aims to have 7 GW by 2030, European wind lobby group Windeurope added.