Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy

The European Commission's new strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy will help meet the EU's goal of climate neutrality. The EU aims to reach 300 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050, which is a 25-fold growth increase. This will require nearly €800 billion in investments between today and 2050. In addition, the strategy aims to develop 40 GW of other sources of ocean renewable energy, such as ocean wave and tidal energy.

The Commission wants the EU to lead the clean energy transition, and offshore renewable energy is key to reaching climate neutrality by 2050. 93% of the European installed offshore capacity in 2019 was produced in Europe, and EU companies also hold 66% of patents in tidal and 44% of patents in wave energy. 70% of the global ocean energy capacity has been developed by EU27 based companies. Europe currently has an offshore wind capacity of 12 GW, which corresponds to 42 percent of today's global capacity. Floating wind technology continues to develop, and by 2024, 150 MW of floating offshore wind turbines are expected to be commissioned. Floating offshore will be up to a third of all offshore capacity by 2050.

All seas bordering EU nations have potential for wind generation. The North Sea has a high and widespread natural potential, and is currently the world’s leading region for deployed capacity and expertise in offshore wind.

340 GW of marine energy by 2050

The EU foresees 60 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050. In addition, there will be 40 GW of other sources of ocean renewable energy by 2050. In order to achieve this, an estimated investment of €800 billion is needed, of which two thirds will fund the associated grid infrastructure and a third offshore generation.

To help generate and unleash this investment, the Commission proposes three actions:

  • Provide a clear and supportive legal framework. This will include revisions of the State aid guidelines on energy and environmental protection and of the Renewable Energy Directive
  • Help mobilise all relevant funds to support the sector's development, such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility and Horizon Europe funds. Member states are also encouraged to work together with the European Investment Bank and other financial institutions to support investments in offshore energy through InvestEU.
  • Ensure a strengthened supply chain. The Strategy underlines the need to improve manufacturing capacity and port infrastructure. It will also be crucial to increase the appropriately skilled workforce to sustain higher installation rates. The Commission also plans to establish a offshore renewables platform within the Clean Energy Industrial Forum.

The report underlines the importance of ensuring co-existence with other activities and protecting the environment through maritime spatial planning.

By Anna Lygre Solvang