European Commission Plans to Expand Offshore Wind Capacity to 300 GW by 2050

It also proposes capacity enhancement of ocean energy as well as floating wind and solar up to 40 GW by 2050

November 23, 2020


The European Commission (EC) has unveiled a strategy to help achieve the European Union’s (EU) climate neutrality target by 2050.

The plan suggests increasing Europe’s offshore wind capacity up to 60 GW by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050, from its existing capacity of 12 GW. It also proposes an additional capacity enhancement of ocean energy and other emerging technologies such as floating wind and solar up to 40 GW by 2050.

The statement also noted other technologies that are still in the early stages of development in Europe but could be promising for the future. These technologies include algal biofuels (biodiesel, biogas, and bioethanol), ocean thermal energy conversion, and floating solar installations (already deployed in landlocked waters but mainly at the research and demonstration stage at sea, with only 17 kW installed).

The Commission highlighted the opportunities to install offshore wind projects across all of the EU’s sea basins, including the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the North Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic sea.

“Today’s strategy shows the urgency and opportunity of ramping up our investment in offshore renewables. With our vast sea basins and industrial leadership, the European Union has all that it needs to rise up to the challenge,” said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal.

The commission said that investment of nearly €800 billion (~$ 946.73 billion) between now and 2050 is required to satisfy its proposed targets. It added that it would provide a clear and supportive legal framework to help generate these investments.

According to its press statement, the European Commission will ensure that the revisions of the state aid guidelines on energy and environmental protection and of the renewable energy directives advance the cost-effective deployment of offshore renewable energy. The Commission suggested member states should work together with the European Investment Bank and other financial institutes and utilize the recovery and resilience facility of €672.5 billion (~$ 798.50 billion) to support investment in offshore energy through InvestEU. To support research and development, the commission proposed to mobilize Horizon Europe funds.

To advance the offshore energy capacity of the region, the European Commission will facilitate cross-border co-operation between member states. The strategy emphasizes enhancing port infrastructure and manufacturing capacity to strengthen the supply chain. It also underlines the need for a skilled workforce to increase the offshore wind capacity of the region.

“This strategy sets a clear direction and establishes a stable framework, which is crucial for public authorities, investors, and developers in this sector. We need to boost the EU’s domestic production to achieve our climate targets, feed the growing electricity demand, and support the economy in its post-COVID recovery,” said Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy.

In September 2020, the European Commission announced that it would launch a €1 billion (~$1.16 billion) European Green Deal call for research and innovation projects to tackle the climate crisis and safeguard Europe’s ecosystem and biodiversity.

Countries across the globe are focusing on renewable expansion with a renewed push. Recently, the United Kingdom Government announced a ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution. The plan includes increasing the country’s offshore wind capacity up to 40 GW by 2030.

Harsh Shukla is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.

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