16 November 2020 saw the launch of the Coalition for Offshore Energy and Nature, a partnership between leading environmental NGOs, transmission system operators and the wind industry.
Together they plan to ensure that Europe delivers on its planned expansion of offshore wind while 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,” said WindEurope. “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 windfarms have some positive impacts on their immediate marine environment, but they could also have negative impacts on the environment if they are not built and operated the right way. So it is very important that the wind industry collaborates with environmental stakeholders.”
“This is why leading environmental NGOs, transmission system operators and the wind industry decided to get together and form the coalition. They want to help the EU and national governments reach 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 chief executive 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.”
Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) chief executive Antonella Battaglini said: “RGI is proud to be part of this Coalition and to act as convener and coordinator for this diverse group of stakeholders. Renewable offshore infrastructure is essential for Europe to meet its climate and energy targets. Planning collaboratively and with an ecosystem approach is the only way to avoid damage, delay and conflict.”
TenneT chief executive Manon van Beek said: “As a leading offshore transmission system operator we are committed to actively sharing our experience in deploying offshore grid connections and to learning from all of the partners in the coalition.”
The 18 founding members are: Coalition for Offshore Energy and Nature are BirdLife Europe, Climate Action Network Europe, WWF, Naturschutzbund Deutschland, 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.