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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article10 November 2021European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency1 min read

Green and blue energy in the spotlight at EUSEW 2021

Reinforcing the sustainability of offshore renewable energy

Offshore windmills.2

Reinforcing the sustainability of offshore renewable energy was the focus of discussion at the policy conference organised by CINEA, the European Commission DG for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and DG for Energy, on 26 October 2021 as part of the annual EU Sustainable Energy Week

The session took stock of the EU’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, one year on from its adoption, and discussed the key challenges and opportunities to meet the ambitious goals of 61GW of offshore renewables by 2030 and 340GW by 2050. While there has been progress since the publication of the strategy, we need to increase the pace in order to reach these targets. 

Coordination is an essential element to achieve these goals as part of a sustainable blue economy. We need coordination at all levels, including maritime spatial planning, grid planning and connecting projects through shared interconnections. 

The offshore renewables sector also needs to develop in harmony with other ambitions in the EU Green Deal, notably biodiversity and the EU mission to restore our seas and oceans by 2030. The recyclability of offshore turbines must also be addressed, in line with the circular economy approach. Dialogue and the early involvement of all sectors and interests is important to ensure offshore renewables can grow and be compatible with other blue economy activities and with healthy oceans.   

Increasing investment is also key, especially in the areas of digital and clean technologies for offshore installations and in upgrading ports. EU support to tackle the investment gap for the sector includes the BlueInvest initiative, intensifying cooperation with the European Investment Bank and the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility.  

The session included examples of EU-supported initiatives that are putting coordination into practice. The EU-SCORES project will demonstrate how multi-source offshore renewable energy parks combine solar PV with bottom-fixed wind, and wave energy with a floating wind farm. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund sustains the eMSP project, which builds on previous work under the Pan-Baltic Scope project, to implement maritime spatial planning by bringing together authorities in the Baltic and North Seas and foster dialogue and exchange of expertise. 

The full recording of the policy conference is available to watch here