Offshore wind power will help EU to meet its 2020 renewable energy target

 Offshore wind energy has an “important” role in helping the EU to meet its 2020 renewable energy target, Hans Van Steen, Head of Unit at the European Commission’s department for energy said on Tuesday.

Some 40 GW of offshore wind energy should be online by 2020, with the majority being in the North Sea, he added, speaking at an event called ‘Offshore renewable energies: exploring the synergies’ in Brussels as part of the European week of regions and cities.

The 40 GW figure chimes exactly with EWEA’s target to have a minimum of 40 GW of offshore wind energy by 2020.

“Our current energy structure in Europe is unsustainable for the environment and for our dependency on energy imports… Offshore energy will be a fantastic driver for economic growth and jobs,” Van Steen said.

When it comes to developing the offshore wind farms needed to meet this capacity, Glória Rodrigues, Head of Policy Analysis at EWEA, said that regional authorities have an important role to play.

Supporting the development of the right type of ports with deep water, reinforced quaysides and large storage facilities, as well as the installation of offshore wind turbines testing facilities, are areas in which regional authorities can ensure that offshore wind farm are in place in time to meet the targets.

“In 2009 the offshore wind power grew by 56% compared to the previous year and we expect a similar or even greater success this year,” Rodrigues said, speaking at the same event.

Today, there are 43 wind farms in nine EU countries with the most significant players being the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. The current total installed capacity offshore amounts to 2.4 GW which should rise to around 150 GW by 2030, she added.

By Zoë Casey,