News in Brief
European Commission launches consultation on offshore wind
The European Commission has launched a public consultation to identify the key barriers to the large-scale development of offshore wind and ways of overcoming them. The findings will then be used to help draw up the Commission’s Action Plan for offshore wind, which will be published in November 2008.
The Action Plan will be an important step towards a future legislative framework for offshore wind energy at European level. Offshore wind is a major untapped energy source, and with appropriate policy support it could be a key contributor to the EU’s target of 20% of energy from renewables by 2020. According to EWEA’s report on offshore wind energy, published in December last year, 40 GW of offshore wind capacity could be installed in the EU by 2020, meeting 4% of Europe’s electricity needs.
EWEA’s offshore report points out that there are several barriers to be overcome before offshore wind energy can begin to fulfill its massive potential. Some of the future challenges already identified include supply chain bottlenecks, long project development times, grid access conditions, lengthy and complex permitting procedures and a lack of physical infrastructure. The European Commission’s consultation, open until 20 June 2008, aims to obtain a clearer understanding of these issues, and of ways in which the EU could support the development of offshore wind in Europe, as the Action Plan is prepared.
EWEA will draw up a set of answers to the Commission’s consultation survey by mid-June, which will be made available for all members to use, copy and comment on as they wish. EWEA encourages all its members to react to the consultation, which is an ideal opportunity for the wind industry to make its voice heard in this important step for the future of offshore wind energy in Europe.