Offshore wind

Europe's offshore wind potential is enormous and able to meet Europe's demand seven times over, as estimated by the European Environment Agency's (EEA). The European Commission anticipated, in its 2008 Communication on offshore wind energy (EC, 2008) that "offshore wind can and must make a substantial contribution to meeting the EU's energy policy objectives through a very significant increase - in the order of 30-40 times by 2020 and 100 times by 2030 - in installed capacity compared to today."

Key numbers:

  • 5 GW installed end 2012
  • 10% of Europe's annual wind energy installations
  • 40 GW installed capacity by 2020, equivalent to 4% of EU electricity demand or 148 TWh production
  • 150 GW by 2030, meeting 14% of EU electricity demand or 562 TWh.

The offshore wind sector brings considerable economic opportunities. The offshore industry contributes to Europe's competitiveness and leadership in wind energy, provides employment in the EU, reduces Europe's import dependence and reinforces its security of supply.

Key numbers:

  • Around €3.4bn to €4.6bn annual investment (2012)
  • 58,000 FTE (2012)
  • 191,000 FTE in 2020 and 318,000 FTE in 2030 (60% of wind employment)

Key texts:

The offshore grid

Europe's offshore grid should be built to integrate the expected 40GW of offshore wind power by 2020 and 150 GW by 2030. EWEA's proposed offshore grid builds on the 11 offshore grids currently operating and 21 offshore grids currently being considered by the grid operators in the Baltic and North Seas to give Europe a truly pan-European electricity super highway.

A European transnational offshore grid will:

  • Provide grid access to offshore wind farms
  • Smooth the variability of their output on the markets
  • Contribute to the development of a single European electricity market
  • Ensure Europe's energy security

Key texts:

Maritime spatial planning

Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is key to enhancing offshore wind development. It provides stability and clarity for the investors and can bring down the costs of wind energy through an optimum integration of the wind farms into the marine environment. EWEA strongly supports the development of an integrated and coordinated Maritime Spatial Planning policy across Europe.

Key texts:

Offshore event


EWEA OFFSHORE 2015 will take place in Copenhagen - home to the world's first ever commercial offshore wind farm and the second largest offshore wind market.

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