European Commission should encourage sea space planning

The SEANERGY 2020 final report was launched on 20 June 2012 at EU Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels. The report underlines that currently there is little in the way of maritime spatial planning in Europe’s maritime states, however, Member States sharing the same sea basin could benefit from cooperation. The European Commission could provide MSP through a European Directive or guidelines.

Download the final report

20/06/2012: Press Release 

Wind farms have positive effects on marine life

According to a new study published in Environmental Research Letters (ERL) and mentioned by the European Wind Energy Association on its blog, many marine species can benefit from the presence of an offshore wind farm. The researchers monitored the Egmond aan Zee wind farm in the Netherlands, made up of 36 turbines situated between 10 and 18 km off the coast.

According to ERL researchers, some species find shelter inside the farm while mussel larvae attach themselves to the monopile foundations of the turbines. Moreover, over the two-year investigation period, an increase in the sole was registered, with whiting and striped red mullet, while  more porpoise clicks were recorded inside the wind farm than outside.

 Read the full study

The WINDSPEED Roadmap to the deployment of offshore wind energy in the Central and Southern North Sea (2020-2030) is now available

The Roadmap is the final deliverable of the WINDSPEED project and it aims to present a realistic target for offshore wind with minimum negative impacts on other sea activities present in the area. Moreover, it identifies actions required to achieve this target.

 Download the WINDSPEED Roadmap

UK government sets 18GW offshore target by 2020

On 12 july 2011, the UK governemnet has set a new 18 GW target for offshore wind by 2020. Moreover, the offshore wind industry will also benefit from a £30 million fund to support innovation in component production over the next four years.

The UK governemt aims at reducing the price of offshore wind to £100/MWh by 2020 and has set up a dedicated task force.

Read more

 Download the UK Renewable Energy Roadmap


France launched a tender for five offshore zones

On Monday, 11 July 2011, France launched a €10m tender for five offshore wind farms totalling 3GW to help meet its 23% energy target  from renewable sources by 2020. The will close in January 2012, and the winners are expected to be announced in April.

Moreover, the government confirmed that it will launch a second 3GW tender in April 2012, and is starting a process to identify suitable areas for development

Read more 

European Commission Communication on Maritime Spatial Planning in the EU – Achievements and future development

On 17 December 2010, the European Commission published a report concerning the developments on Maritime Spatial Planning since the 2008 roadmap. The report points out the need for action at EU level, in order for MSP to be deployed in the most coherent and effective way possible.

In particular, the EC stressed the importance of a common approach in the adoption of MSP in all Member States, which will bring legal certainty, predictability and transparency, meaning a reduction of costs for those actors operating in more than one Member State. Moreover, more coherent approach is requested especially in cross-border marine areas and sea-basins.

To identify the best way forward the Commission launched an impact assessment whose results will be presented in 2011.

Download the EC Communication on Maritime Spatial Planning in the EU

European Commission Communication on Energy Infrastructure Priorities for 2020 and beyond

The Commission identified the priority corridors for the transport of electricity, gas and oil. As for the electricity sector, four EU priority corridors have been identified:

  • Offshore grid in Northern Seas and connection to Northern as well as Central Europe
  • Interconnections in South Western Europe
  • Connections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe
  • Completion of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP)

In addition, the EC pointed out several activities which should be put into place to speed up the implementation. In particular, the EC stressed the importance of regional platforms in facilitating the planning, implementation and monitoring of local priorities.

Moreover, the EC will propose permitting measures for projects of “European interest” to improve the current process and ensure more transparency to all stakeholders involved. Several measures will be put into place to improve the decision-making process.

New communication tools and a dedicated policy and project one will be proposed to ensure better information for decision makers and citizen.

Download the EC Communication on Energy Infrastructure Priorities for 2020 and beyond

New Natura 2000 sites announced

On 10 January 2011 the European Commission announced 739 additional sites for Natura 2000. The new sites cover almost 27,000km² of marine areas. The new marine zones are mainly located in France, Denmark and Spain. The new Spanish area, El Cachucho, includes a vast offshore bank and an underwater mountain in the Cantabrian Sea.

In France, part of the Loire estuary (680 km²) is now included in Natura 2000. The area is characterised by cold water reefs and sand banks, and known as a growing area for young fish as well as a stage area for migratory species. Other three main marine sites have been added.

Denamark has added nine marine sites in the Atlantic and Continental region covering a total area of nearly 4,000 km².

Download the list of new Natura 2000 sites