Research Group for Climate, Energy and Environmental Law

Response to the EU Offshore Energy Strategy

Associate Professor Ignacio Herrera-Anchustegui, in a joint submission with Dr Daria Shapovalova and Dr Eddy Wifa, provided a response to the EU consultation for the new strategy on offshore renewable energy strategy.

Main content

Offshore renewable energy consists of many different sources that are abundant, natural and clean, like wind, wave and tidal. These avoid some of the challenges that onshore renewables face – hills, buildings, roads or other human activities which make it difficult to connect to the grid – even if they face additional challenges, such as competition to sea space access. The energy of the oceans can be harnessed by modern technologies without emitting any greenhouse gases, making offshore renewable energy a potential cornerstone of the clean energy transition in the EU.

The EU is striving to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Offshore renewables is therefore of key importance in this regard, as emphasised in the European Green Deal

In the recovery period of COVID-19, it is important to front load investment in offshore renewable energy where possible, as this is likely to boost enduring jobs and economic activity – thereby contributing to the green recovery and long-term sustainable, inclusive growth.

To ensure that offshore renewable energy can help reach the EU's ambitious energy and climate targets, the Commission will put forward a dedicated strategy by the end of 2020 that will assess its potential contribution and propose ways forward to support the long-term sustainable development of this sector. In preparation of the strategy, the Commission welcomed contributions through a public consultation. 

On behalf of the Bergen Offshore Wind Centre, the Aberdeen University Centre for Energy Law and the Research group for Natural Resource Law, Environmental Law and Development Law, Ignacio Herrera Ancustegui, Daria Shapovalova and Eddy Wifa provided a respons to the consultation on Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy. In addition to responding to the questionnaire, they enclosed an accompanying letter. Following is an extract from the letter: 

"The development of offshore renewable energy sources in Europe presents opportunities for the development of an industry that can be competitive at a global scale, generate jobs through the whole value chain in Europe. Additionally, offshore energy sources have the potential to supply with clean energy the European power markets in which energy demand will increase due to population growth and increased electrification, as well as being a strong medium to reach the 2050 European Climate change goals. Furthermore, offshore energy developments will bring about increased competition in the European electricity markets and could play a role in ensuring the energy security and addressing system intermittency. Despite the well-known benefits, the development of offshore energy renewable solutions in EU waters faces several challenges that range from ground research (resource mapping, meteorological conditions, effects of the weather in the equipment), to technical aspects (materials used for turbines, sizes, foundations), industry-coordination (value chain related issues), as well as environmental and social acceptance dilemmas. Addressing all of these underlies the regulatory framework in which such industries will operate. In this short contribution, we would like to stress a few key legal issues that the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy (“EU-ORES”) should consider and address."

Find the full letter enclosed at the bottom of the page, under documents.