16 November saw the launch of a new Offshore Energy and Nature Coalition. It’s an new partnership between leading environmental NGOs, transmission system operators and the wind industry. They are going to work together to ensure Europe delivers its planned expansion of offshore wind while at the same time preserving nature and marine ecosystems.
Europe needs large amounts of wind energy to deliver the Green Deal and climate neutrality. The EU Commission sees wind being half of Europe’s electricity by 2050. This requires a major expansion of both onshore and offshore wind. The Commission is eyeing up to 20 times more offshore wind by 2050 than we have today. It will adopt an EU offshore renewable energy strategy later this week which will set out how to achieve this.
At the same time Europe needs to protect its marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Offshore wind reduces CO2 emissions so mitigates against climate change and climate change impacts on the marine environment. Offshore wind farms have some positive impacts on their immediate marine environment too. But they could also have negative impacts on the local environment if they’re not built and operated the right way. So it’s very important that the wind power industry collaborates with environmental stakeholders.
And this is why leading environmental NGOs, transmission system operators and the wind industry decided to get together and form a new Coalition. They want to help the EU and national governments reach their climate goals while ensuring the success of their environmental protection and biodiversity strategies. The Coalition will focus on best practice and agree on the best approaches to developing offshore wind while preserving local nature and marine ecosystems.
WindEurope’s CEO Giles Dickson said: “This is an excellent initiative. Industry and NGOs need to work together for the EU to fulfil its climate and biodiversity objectives, become the first climate-neutral continent and be an example to the world. Offshore wind energy will be a central part of Europe’s energy transition, of a just transition and of economic recovery. The wind industry is delighted to join forces with Civil Society and TSOs to ensure the expansion of offshore wind keeps our seas healthy, clean and productive. This is the start of essential collaboration.”
The founding members of the Coalition for Offshore Energy and Nature are BirdLife Europe, Climate Action Network Europe, WWF, Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU), The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Natuur&Milieu, The Wildlife Trusts, Stichting De Noordzee, The Renewables Grid Initiative, 50hertz, Amprion, Elia Group, RTE France, TenneT, Ørsted, Vattenfall, Siemens Gamesa and WindEurope.