"By 2020, around 20% of the European offshore wind farm installed capacity could be located in the Atlantic basin", stated the Commission in its newly published "Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean Area".
"With over 23,000 Megawatts (MW) of offshore wind turbines currently being planned by developers in the Atlantic Ocean, the Strategy considers the development of offshore wind as a key asset for the sea basin", said Anne-Bénédicte Genachte, Regulatory Affairs Advisor at the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Brussels.
In its Strategy the European Commission stresses that "the expansion of offshore wind farms in the Atlantic will offer key industrial opportunities for the ports that service them" (page 3).
EWEA supports the Commission in its view that maritime spatial planning is important across European waters. EWEA stresses that it is a key element for EU offshore wind development. It will help bring down costs through an optimum integration of the wind farms into the marine environment.
The Commission warns that "successful deployment of large scale offshore renewable energy will only happen if grid connections are ensured to link the main production centres to consumption." The Commission further proposes to include the Irish Sea in the EU’s planning for energy infrastructure priorities, which EWEA welcomes as a positive step.
The planned Atlantic Forum (with Member States, the European Parliament, regional authorities, civil society and industry representatives) will help develop the Commission’s proposed Atlantic Action Plan to be adopted in 2013.