Brussels (dpa) – Thousands of new wind turbines will be built on European coasts to generate climate-friendly electricity. According to a new strategy by the EU Commission, capacity will increase from 12 gigawatts today to 60 gigawatts in 2030 and even 300 gigawatts in 2050.
800,000 million euros will be invested in 30 years. In addition to wind energy, other renewable energies will also be expanded at sea, such as tidal power plants or floating solar parks. That should bring in another 40 gigawatts.
“We set ourselves high goals, both because of the urgency and the high potential,” Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said Thursday when the concept was unveiled. The plan is meant to help make Europe climate neutral by 2050. It requires careful planning, a lot of money and agreements with those affected, such as tourism, fisheries and nature conservationists, Timmermans said. He was sure: “That can be agreed with nature.” Around three per cent of the EU’s maritime area was sufficient.
Offshore wind energy is one of the most promising renewables because the wind is constantly blowing. However, expansion has progressed more slowly in recent decades than originally thought, in part due to difficult construction of the facilities and connection of the line. According to industry information, Germany recently had a capacity of just under 7.4 gigawatts.
The German energy industry association BDEW also sees great additional potential and welcomed the clear objectives from Brussels. This is an important signal for the wind energy industry, explained the head of BDEW, Kerstin Andreae in Berlin. The intermediate goal of 60 gigawatts by 2030 is only the minimum, especially since only Germany is targeting a magnitude of 20 gigawatts.
The plans are too timid for the Greens. In the end, 450 gigawatts of capacity are required for climate neutrality, complained MEP Jutta Paulus. “Furthermore, marine protection and biodiversity conservation are neglected in the strategy,” he added. The nature conservation association Nabu addresses the risks to marine mammals, fish and migratory and resting birds and also warns that the energy transition must be designed in a nature-friendly way.
The offshore strategy takes into account all the maritime zones of the EU, ie the North and Baltic Seas, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. “With our huge sea basins and our industrial leadership, the European Union has what it takes to meet the challenge,” said Timmermans.
The strategy is based on large joint projects of several member states. Specifically, the plan provides for the creation of investment incentives through a clear legal framework. EU rules for the electricity market will be adapted accordingly, as will state aid rules for energy and environment protection and the renewable energy directive. At the same time, all available EU funding funds will be activated, including the so-called cohesion funds, the planned fund for fair change and the planned Corona relief fund.
Federal Minister of the Economy Peter Altmaier welcomed the plan. “In particular, we need regulations that ensure that wind energy from these cross-border projects can be effectively integrated into the market and transported,” said the CDU politician. “There is still a lot of work to do here.” The Commission’s strategy is a good starting point.