What WindEurope wants to see in the EU’s offshore wind strategy
03 Jul 2020by David Foxwell
Germany has taken over the rotating EU Council Presidency from Croatia and in a short time frame, the German Presidency aims to develop and adopt several important energy policies – with a strong focus on offshore wind
The Presidency programme says the rapid expansion of offshore wind has a key role to play in achieving the EU’s ambitious renewable energy targets and ensuring security of energy supply.
Central to the German plan is the adoption by the EU Commission of the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy in October 2020.
“The EU has great plans for the expansion of offshore wind and WindEurope has 10 very practical proposals to help accelerate a co-ordinated expansion of offshore wind in line with the Green Deal,” said WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson.
WindEurope has published a position paper on the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, highlighting many of the key elements it would like it to include.
The paper identifies the need for a collaborative and long-term approach to maritime spatial planning, aligned with EU climate goals.
It highlights the key role of both hybrid offshore windfarms and floating offshore wind and calls for the EU’s Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) programme to support investments in the former. And it identifies two-sided contracts for difference as the most efficient auction system to finance new investments in offshore wind.
WindEurope’s 10 points are as follows:
- Adopt the Commission’s proposed Climate Law and increase the EU’s GHG emissions reduction and renewable energy targets to 2030: Enshrine ambitious targets for GHG reduction by 2030 in the climate law, strengthening the roadmap to climate neutrality by 2050. Explore and support future scenarios with 100% renewable energy and increased electrification measures. Following the adoption of higher GHG emissions target, review the role of other enabling policy instruments such as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in view of strengthening their role for the achievement of the emissions target.
- Align Maritime Spatial Planning with climate change goals: In the short term, provide recommendations to align MSPs with the 2030 National Energy & Climate Plans (NECPs) regarding the timely availability of sites for offshore wind. Review the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive to fully reflect the Climate Law and broader synergies with other EU policies and establish or strengthen regional fora for discussing sea uses with society, businesses, and governments. In the long term, strengthen co-operation mechanisms for the co-ordination of MSPs that would ensure alignment of plans between countries and compatibility with EU climate policies. Provide regulatory guidance and fund research on the co-use of windfarm areas with other economic activities such as aquaculture, fisheries, tourism.
- Improve knowledge on environmental impacts and social acceptance: Strengthen and use existing networks and regional and international platforms to connect stakeholders across all marine sectors. Identify and initiate missing research on Strategic and Cumulative Environmental Assessments incorporating the long-term benefits of reaching net-zero. Work towards harmonising the methodologies for carrying out environmental impact assessments across member states, with a specific focus on data collection and sharing. Ensure that actions in the Biodiversity Strategy allow for the co-existence of wind energy, restoration, and conservation activities, including marine protected areas. Increase social acceptance for the energy transition through information dissemination on climate change and public participation initiatives.
- Ensure the delivery of the 2030 Clean Energy Package: Support member states to fine-tune detailed policy measures in their NECPs. Report annually on the progress of the CEP implementation at the State of the Energy Union. Put pressure and lean in on member states to deliver missing NECPs as mandated by the Governance Regulation. Create clear incentives for member states to deliver higher volumes of renewables based on the EU Recovery Plan and an updated 2030 GHG emissions target. Establish the renewable energy finance platform to enable countries without a seashore to participate in offshore wind projects through cross-border co-operation.
- Step up power grid investment and facilitate their permitting: A long-term and integrated offshore grid masterplan, including via the TEN-E Regulation, with the identification of landing points for offshore connections and onshore grid upgrades. Use the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) window destined to cross-border renewable energy projects to fund flagship offshore hybrids. Propose an enabling framework for the development of offshore hybrids to trigger project investments. Accelerate the execution of the 100-electricity transmission and storage projects approved in the last (fourth) Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list in the short-term.
- Maintaining first mover advantage: Recognise wind energy as a priority strategic sector by including it in the Industrial Forum that begins work in September. Earmark €1.0Bn (US$1.1Bn) for offshore wind R, I&D to 2030 under Horizon Europe and the Innovation Fund for large-scale demonstration of multi-terminal HVDC platforms; cost reductions in balance of plant equipment including innovative grid technologies and configurations; and new technologies for logistics and installation of larger wind turbines at sea (cranes, vessels, floating foundations, dynamic cables). The EU recovery plan to fund port infrastructure suitable for both bottom-fixed and floating industrial needs. Propose an Export Strategy for Renewables to encourage co-ordination of export credit agencies to offer guarantees for projects in third country markets; restart negotiations for an Environmental Goods Agreement; ensure reciprocity of access in high potential markets. Launch an ambitious skilling and reskilling agenda for the blue economy
- Floating offshore wind: Set up a ’European Floating Offshore Alliance’ to drive projects to reach 100 GW by 2050 and set clear intermediate targets. In the short-term develop at least five dedicated Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI). IPCEIs to deliver 2.5 GW by 2025 through identification of projects every year; in the medium-term co-ordinate the commercial deployment of a minimum of 6 GW by 2030. Kick-start the industrialisation of floaters manufacturing (50-100 units/year) and adequate ports infrastructure for mass production (including vessels, cranes and other retrofits needed). Target EU-funded project calls for the demonstration of dynamic subsea cables, floating offshore power substations and moorings. Direct funding to the industrialisation of coastal regions (ports and infrastructure).
- Financing offshore wind: Favour the two-sided Contract for Difference scheme in European State aid as it provides long-term revenue certainties for investors; reduces the cost of financing; minimises the amount of government subsidies; increases competition in the bidding process; and allows for cost reduction of offshore wind. Exploit additional mechanisms to reduce investment risk in renewables.
- Regional co-operation: Launch/strengthen regional co-operation initiatives for the development of offshore wind. Reinforce industry, TSOs and other stakeholder participation in regional co-operation fora. Task regional co-operation fora with the delivery of the actions set out in this paper, particularly the co-ordination of auctions and volumes of projects at national level; conceive and bring to fruition cross-border projects by removing regulatory barriers and speeding up permitting and administrative procedures; co-ordinate MSP and grid development; and harmonise technical standards across countries and regions.
- Offshore wind and hydrogen – Smart Sector Integration: Set a clear definition of renewable hydrogen in the Smart Sector Integration Strategy. Propose a roadmap for scaling-up and reducing the cost of renewable hydrogen, particularly offshore. Clarify the roles and responsibilities of market and regulated players in the production of hydrogen. Legislate the traceability of the renewable electricity used for hydrogen production in a system with a mix of power generating technologies. Use the Smart Systems Industry Summit (SSIS) and Hydrogen Strategy as opportunities to level-play gas and electricity taxation and grid tariffs. Make integrated planning of electricity and gas grids reflect the EU’s long-term climate ambitions. European Network of Transmission System Operators - Electricity (ENTSO-E) and ENTSO-Gas long-term joint scenarios reflecting up to 450 GW of offshore wind and up to a 90% decline of fossil gas demand by 2050.
In June, Riviera held a series of webinars on offshore wind. These are available to view in our webinar library