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."
- 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.
- Around €3.4bn to €4.6bn annual investment (2012)
- 35,000 FTE (2012)
- 170,000 FTE in 2020 and 300,000 FTE in 2030 (60% of wind employment)
- EC Communication (2012): Blue Growth - opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable
- EWEA (2012) The European offshore wind industry - key trends and statistics 2012
- EWEA (2011) The European offshore wind industry - key trends and statistics 2011
- EWEA (2011) Wind in our Sails - The coming of Europe's offshore wind energy industry 2011
- EWEA (2011) European Offshore Wind Energy Map 2011
- EWEA (2011) Pure Power
- EEA (2009) Europe's onshore and offshore wind energy potential
- EWEA (2009) Oceans of opportunity
- EC Communication (2008) Offshore Wind Energy: Action needed to deliver on the Energy Policy Objectives for 2020 and beyond
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
- European Commission (2011) - Guideline for trans-European energy infrastructure - Proposals for a regulation
- IEE Project (2011) OffshoreGrid: Offshore Electricity Infrastructure in Europe
- The North Seas Countries' Offshore Grid Initiative - Memorandum of Understanding - (2010)
- EWEA (2009) - 20 Year Offshore Network Development Master Plan
- Stockholm Declaration (2009)
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.
- EWEA Briefing (2012) "Maritime Spatial Planning: supporting offshore wind and grid development"
- IEE Project (2012): SEANERGY 2020
- Commission communication on maritime spatial planning in the EU (2010)