INFORSE-Europe logo

Search on the site:
Facebook INFORSE Facebook INFORSE-Europe  INFORSE Twitter
EnglishSpanish French Hungarian Slovak Polish German
About Us Contact Us Member Database Contact Database Support Us
PortugueseRomanian Turkish Bulgarian Macedonian Russian Danish
  100% Renewables
Seminars & Events
  LCS Network
  Press Releases
United Nations
European Union
  Nuclear Energy
  Structural Funds


School Resources
  Study tours 
  Success Stories 
  Test yourself Quiz
  Useful Links
Off-Shore Wind Energy

Updated: July 2012

November 2008, the EC launched the Communication “Offshore Wind Energy: Action needed to deliver on the Energy Policy Objectives for 2020 and beyond”.
It outlined the huge potential of the Offshore Energy to contribute to the objective of 20% renewable energy in 2020 in Europe and the need of favourable framework conditions to develop it.
In 2009 the offshore potential was 1.5 GW, 2.4% of the total wind energy capacity of Europe, which was the biggest energy growth sector. Wind could contribute 12% EU electricity by 2020 and one third (40GW) of it is likely to come from offshore installations.

Facts pointed out by the Communication:

Need of integration of off shore wind farms into the coastal management regimes. The laying of the cables needed to bring the converted wind power as electricity to the shoreline needs to take into account other coastal users such as shipping, military use and mari-culture.

Improvement suggested in the environmental impact assessment related to wildlife studies in the vicinity of offshore wind energy plants. The same refers to shipping safety in combination with wind energy plants. Even if wind farms are not constructed in waterways with high shipping frequencies, the risk of collision still cannot be excluded. Regarding to wildlife studies, the EC is going to develop a guidance on nature assessment for offshore wind plants.

International cooperation is needed to get the energy to land and to conect the energy flows from wind instalations of different countries.

Financing of projects is a combined responsibility of government and private enterprise. However, because of the risk, governments need to provide financial support mechanisms to bridge the gap between cost and economic value of wind energy.

The common ground between offshore renewables and the oil and gas industry can be turned into an asset if the opportunities are seized in coastal areas to achieve a managed, gradual transition to the new energies.

At present offshore wind competes, on the one hand, with onshore wind for the existing turbine production capacity and, on the other, with the oil and gas exploration industry for the existing offshore equipment and expertise. In this "double-squeeze", offshore wind is disadvantaged from working up from a niche market to a full scale industry. Private investments are needed and investors are wary of making substantial investments on research and development while the industry still depends on national subsidies. Although there is sharing of knowledge, there appears to be little international cooperation to reach the renewable targets set.

Read the Communication here.

In preparation of the plan, the EU Commission launched a consultation to collect the opinion of relevant stakeholders. This consultation was opened from April to June 2008 and especially focused on two major topics:
- The most important barriers preventing future development of offshore energy in Europe.
- Actions that might be carried out to address these barriers.

Read INFORSE-Europe's contribution (pdf file 54kB).(June 2008)
Read the Consultation and its background paper on the EU Commission's web site.

Consultation respondents identified these barriers among the most important:

- The lack of integrated approaches as a significant obstacle to the identification of suitable locations for offshore wind farms.
- The requirement of permissions from different authorities within a country as part of the consenting process.
- The need for and/or construction time of onshore grid reinforcements to assure connection and enable integration of offshore wind into the European grid, as well as the need for offshore grid connectors to the wind farms.
- The current insufficient availability of reliable tested offshore wind turbine technologies.
- The adaptation of national support schemes to the risks and costs related to offshore wind energy.

Article about Offshore wind farm development in Europe by A. H. Pickaver form the Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC).

« Return to EU Policy Page