With the EU’s new offshore renewable energy strategy (ORES) – “EU Strategy to harness the potential of offshore renewable energy for a climate neutral future” (published on 19 November 2020), the European Commission is widening the scope of its offshore activities. From focusing on offshore wind energy (bottom-fixed), the Commission aims to facilitate the further development of other offshore energy technologies such as floating wind energy, wave and tidal energy, but also floating solar energy and the use of algae. Our blog post sheds some light on upcoming opportunities and challenges from the offshore renewable energy strategy for the different offshore energy technologies.
Maritime spatial planning as a basis
Maritime spatial planning (coordination of use of marine space and resources) will be key to the further development of offshore renewable energy technologies. In the framework of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, the Commission aims to ensure sufficient space and resources are available for offshore technologies by coordinating the submission of national maritime spatial plans due by 31 March 2021. Such maritime spatial planning should be carefully coordinated with different national energy and climate plans but also the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems.
Floating solar farm
From focusing on offshore wind energy (bottom-fixed), the Commission aims to facilitate the further development of other offshore energy technologies.
Different offshore renewable energy operators, as well as energy grid operators, are strongly encouraged to engage both on a European and national level to improve the quality of existing and future spatial planning. These exchanges will be facilitated by the European Commission throughout 2021 and beyond.
A clearer EU regulatory framework to facilitate investments
While offshore renewable energy projects are mainly nationally driven, the Commission wants to facilitate the further development of more complex, cross-border projects. Most importantly, the Commission clarifies the current regulatory framework for offshore bidding zones in its accompanying Staff Working Document. Furthermore, The Commission will ensure that the forthcoming revision of the state aid rules and the Renewable Energy Directive provide a fully updated and fit-for-purpose framework in order to cost-effectively deploy clean energy, including renewable offshore energy.
The lofty ambitions of the Commission will provide a very good opportunity for large-scale cross-border project operators to benefit from a changing regulatory framework. Such operators are advised to keep a close eye on the upcoming changes to the European electricity legislation, which will facilitate their activities. If you would like to stay up to date on the latest developments in the EU energy sector, visit our monitoring services webpage to find out how Dr2 Consultants can support you.
Targeted funding opportunities for offshore renewable energy deployment and R&I
Most importantly, the Commission aims to unlock new private investments as these are expected to carry the bulk of financing needs. The new InvestEU fund will play a key role, with the European Investment Bank acting as a European Climate Bank. In addition, existing and future EU funding instruments such as the NER 300, the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the Connecting Europe Facility are expected to substantially fund mature cross-border projects. Furthermore, investment programs such as Horizon Europe, the Innovation Fund and the Modernisation Fund will provide support for research, innovation and demonstration projects underpinning the future development and deployment of innovative offshore energy technologies in Europe.
Whether your organization is active in early stage R&I activities, demonstration of innovative technologies or the further deployment and rollout of offshore renewable energy infrastructure, the above mentioned EU funding instruments will serve a supporting role to the changing regulatory framework.
In conclusion, the Commission aims to tackle the challenge of creating the optimum environment to maintain and accelerate the current European momentum in offshore renewables. As such, the EU is ready to support frontrunners in this area to preserve its own leading role on a global level.
The Commission is actively inviting all stakeholders to discuss the policy actions proposed in this strategy and to join forces in taking this action forward without delay. Dr2 Consultants is ideally placed to support your organization to identify the opportunities in upcoming financial and policy developments. Fore more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +32 (0)2 512 37 22.
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