Europe’s ocean, seas and coasts are a major driver of its economy. According to the EU Blue Economy Report 2020, released this week, the European blue economy had a turnover of €750 billion and employed roughly 5 million people in 2018. There also is great potential for blue growth as indicated by the 11.6% increase in jobs compared to 2017. Although sectors like coastal tourism as well as fisheries and aquaculture have been severely affected by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, these signs of an otherwise healthy blue economy suggest huge potential for contributing to an economic recovery.
With the emergence of innovative sectors like marine renewable energy, the EU’s blue economy also has great potential to contribute to a ‘green’ recovery and the European Green Deal objective of a more sustainable EU economy. Offshore wind energy, in which electricity is generated by wind mill farms at sea, is one of the fastest growing sectors with an 8-fold increase in the number of jobs between 2009 and 2018. Other newer technologies e.g., tidal and wave energy, hydrogen generation and floating wind farms and solar panels are also emerging, in part thanks to EU investments in ocean energy research and development of up to of €420 million in 2019. As the world leader in ocean energy technology, the EU is on track to produce up to 35% of its electricity from renewable, offshore sources by 2050.
Wondering where all this offshore innovation is taking place? Our map of the week shows the location and status the European offshore wind farms as well as the locations of test sites for newer technologies like tidal and wave energy. Click on any of them to get more information on these projects.