Swept up by Offshore Wind Farms

Author: Brussels Office
Date: September 8, 2010



From Paris to Pekin, offshore wind energy projects are taking off. Several weeks after France started a call for tenders for the construction of 600 wind turbines on the Atlantic coast, China has just announced it will launch a 1.000 MW offshore wind farm project.

 At the European level, the energy package adopted in 2008 set 20-20-20 targets: reducing EU greenhouse gas emissions to at least 20% below 1990 levels; having 20 % of EU energy consumption coming from renewable resources; and reducing primary energy use by 20%.. Wind energy and offshore wind farms are obviously part of the plan.

At the end of 2009, wind power made up 4.8% of EU electricity sources, but only 2,9% came from offshore sources. Nevertheless, offshore wind farms are gaining ground in Europe, and northern European countries are leading the pack - particularly the UK and Denmark, the current leaders with a 44% and 30% share of the total capacity.

The development of offshore wind farms also highlights the necessity for an integrated maritime policy and a maritime spatial planning strategy at the level of the European Union. The balance between the different interests, such as fishing, tourism and shipping, to which we now need to add offshore windmills, has yet to be found. This is a critical step if we want to promote a rational use of the sea and take into account  different environmental impacts.

Oceana fully supports and is campaigning for the development of marine wind farms in European Waters, provided they are in accordance with environmental impact regulations. We’d like to see more southern European countries following in the footsteps of their northern counterparts. To learn more about clean energy and our efforts in this area – check out our website here: http://eu.oceana.org/en/eu/our-work/climate-energy/clean-energy/overview