Europe’s marine regions offer vast renewable energy resources, which can be harvested through a number of different technologies. Most notable are offshore wind farms. These harness the power of the winds at sea, which tend to blow stronger and more consistently than those over land, generating a steady supply of clean energy. Recognising this, Europe is leading the way in offshore wind energy production with 5047 grid-connected windmills installed in the seas of 12 different countries. Newer technologies aim to harvest ocean energy. This includes energy carried by the waves and tides that move ocean water around and the energy that can be extracted from salinity and temperature differences throughout the seawater. As these ocean energy sources remain largely untapped, further development of these technologies has the potential to provide up to 10% of Europe’s electricity needs by 2050.
The European Green Deal sets the ambitious goal to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050, and offshore renewable energy will play a vital role in making this a reality. Yesterday (19th of November 2020), the European Commission presented the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy. It proposes to increase Europe's offshore wind capacity from its current level of 12 gigawatts to at least 60 gigawatts by 2030 and to 300 gigawatts by 2050. Furthermore, the strategy aims for another 40 gigawatts of ocean energy and other emerging technologies such as floating wind and solar farms by 2050. Not only will this strategy benefit our planets climate, it will also create new opportunities for industry, generate green jobs and further strengthen the EU's global leadership in offshore energy technologies.
Wondering where this revolution of renewable offshore energy is taking place? Our map of the week shows the location of both offshore wind and ocean energy projects throughout European waters.