Wind energy trade body WindEurope has called for the shipping and energy sectors to work together to ensure the ambitious targets established in the European Green deal are met.
Wind energy currently makes up 15% of Europe’s energy mix. The majority of this is onshore. But offshore wind is growing rapidly, thanks to decreasing costs and improving technology.
“Offshore wind will be a major player in the future. But collaboration with the shipping sector will be key to delivering this,” said WindEurope.
“Offshore wind is already an important part of the European shipping industry. It uses vessels such as jack-up ships and other vessels to transport and install turbines and cables and move workers around.
“More than 100 vessels are currently used in Europe for the installation of offshore windfarms and laying cables, and 300 more are used for maintenance and transporting staff.
“But many more vessels will be needed for future installations,” said WindEurope.
The IEA believes that offshore wind will be Europe’s number one power source by 2040. And the European Commission says Europe needs between 230 GW and 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050 to decarbonise the energy system and deliver the Green Deal.
“This requires Europe to build 7 GW of new offshore wind a year between now and 2030, and 18 GW per year between 2030 and 2050. This offers new opportunities for local communities and for the shipping sector, in shipyards and in ports,” WindEurope said.
“But where are these windfarms going to be installed? In at least 60% of the North Seas it is not possible to build offshore windfarms today. These ‘exclusion zones’ exist either for environmental reasons or because space is set aside for fishing, military activity and shipping.
“The capacity that would be deployed in northern European waters under the Commission’s 450-GW scenario would require less than 3% of the total space there, but the maritime space will need to be shared between different activities,” said WindEurope.
“Ongoing talks and careful planning will be key to ensure the happy coexistence of various interests. The much-needed European offshore wind strategy, which will be presented later this year by the Commission, will need to take this into account to ensure that the most is made out of the Green Deal.”