Policy Focus: Europe’s offshore energy Strategy

Ahead of the Plenary debate and vote in January, we look back at our special feature on offshore renewable energy, featuring three Danish MEPs, Morten Petersen, Pernille Weiss and Niels Fuglsang
Photo by Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

Europe is surrounded by water: the North, the Mediterranean, the Baltic and the Black Seas as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Offshore renewable energy is also more than just windfarms and includes tidal and wave power, floating solar panels and algae biofuels.

But what future role can offshore renewable energy play in securing the EU’s energy supplies and in helping the Union deliver on its ambitious climate objectives?

Back in August we asked MEPs working on the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee’s INI report on offshore renewable energy to comment for a special feature in the Parliament Magazine.

Ahead of the report’s plenary discussion and vote, scheduled for January 2022, here again is our on offshore renewable energy, featuring three Danish MEPs; Rapporteur Morten Petersen and two shadows, Pernille Weiss and Niels Fuglsang.

Photo Credit: Giancarlo Rocconi

According to Rapporteur Morten Petersen, the EU needs a strategy to fill the sails of offshore energy generation. “Maximising wind and wave power will be pivotal in realising the green transition,” he explained, back in August, adding, “an EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy will help make this a reality”.

The Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee vice-chair told us that he fully supported the Commission’s proposal to increase the renewable energy capacities beyond 60 GW by 2030, to secure a clean, cheap and stable source of energy as the foundation for the green transition.

However, he warned, this is easier said than done. “In order to succeed in rolling out the required renewable capacity, the supply of offshore renewables should be integrated into all relevant EU legislation,” he explained.

Petersen added, “The current speed of development is not fast enough. If we are to make good on our targets, we need to go up a gear in realising the benefits of offshore wind”.

Read Morten Petersen's full article here.

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual, photo by Eric Vidal

The second of our trio of Danish MEPs on offshore renewable energy, Pernille Weiss, argued that offshore resources should not just be considered for coastal country use.

Europe, she explained, is richly endowed with the potential for offshore electrical generation, but the power must be able to flow throughout the continent.

“Power from turbines turning in Poland, Greece or Denmark should be accessible to landlocked countries such as Slovakia or Austria. This is essential if all of Europe is going to benefit from the offshore strategy,” she told the Parliament Magazine.

Weiss reminded our readers that one of the great aspects of wind power was that the technology behind it has already proven. “We have no excuse for not using this as a tool in the green transition”.

Read Pernille Weiss' full article here.

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

Europe has the renewable energy sources to lead the world – but first it must have the infrastructure to support its rollout, Niels Fuglsang explained in our August offshore energy feature.

The Danish Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee member said the European Commission’s proposals for an offshore energy strategy, with a target of at least 60 GW for offshore energy in 2030 and 340 GW in 2050 would be a major increase on the 12 GW offshore wind that is currently deployed.

But he warned, EU Member States would need to work together to plan and put in place the power lines that can secure the efficient uptake of any new offshore resources.

“We should already now be planning the energy ports that will take up the offshore energy and distribute it to the rest of Europe,” Fuglsang told the Parliament Magazine, adding, “this will also require Members States to live up to their commitment to deliver on the EU’s interconnection target of 15 percent of their energy production.”

Read Niels Fuglsang's full article here.

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