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Procedure : 2021/2012(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0339/2021

Texts tabled :

A9-0339/2021

Debates :

PV 14/02/2022 - 22
CRE 14/02/2022 - 21
CRE 14/02/2022 - 22

Votes :

PV 15/02/2022 - 13
CRE 15/02/2022 - 13
PV 16/02/2022 - 2
CRE 16/02/2022 - 2

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2022)0032

Texts adopted
PDF 170kWORD 68k
Wednesday, 16 February 2022 - Strasbourg
A European strategy for offshore renewable energy
P9_TA(2022)0032A9-0339/2021

European Parliament resolution of 16 February 2022 on a European strategy for offshore renewable energy (2021/2012(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular to Article 194 thereof,

–  having regard to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC(1),

–  having regard to Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning(2),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources(3) (the Renewable Energy Directive),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure and repealing Decision No 1364/2006/EC and amending Regulations (EC) No 713/2009, (EC) No 714/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009(4) (the TEN-E Regulation),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility, amending Regulation (EU) No 913/2010 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 680/2007 and (EC) No 67/2010(5), which is currently being revised,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Regulations (EC) No 663/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 94/22/EC, 98/70/EC, 2009/31/EC, 2009/73/EC, 2010/31/EU, 2012/27/EU and 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 2009/119/EC and (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2018 on accelerating clean energy innovation(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2019 entitled ‘Climate change – a European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement’(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2020 on a comprehensive European approach to energy storage(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2020 on a New Industrial Strategy for Europe(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2021 on a European Strategy for Hydrogen(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2021 on a European strategy for energy system integration(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2021 on the impact on the fishing sector of offshore windfarms and other renewable energy systems(14),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM(2019)0640),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 March 2020 entitled ‘A New Industrial Strategy for Europe’ (COM(2020)0102),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing Nature back into our lives’ (COM(2020)0380) and its related resolution of 9 June 2021 of the same title(15),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 July 2020 entitled ‘A hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe’ (COM(2020)0301),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 July 2020 entitled ‘Powering a climate-neutral economy: An EU Strategy for Energy System Integration’ (COM(2020)0299),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 17 September 2020 entitled ‘Stepping up Europe’s 2030 climate ambition – Investing in a climate-neutral future for the benefit of our people’ (COM(2020)0562),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 14 October 2020 entitled ‘2020 report on the State of the Energy Union pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action’ (COM(2020)0950),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 November 2020 entitled ‘An EU Strategy to harness the potential of offshore renewable energy for a climate neutral future’ (COM(2020)0741),

–  having regard to the Commission’s proposal of 15 December 2020 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure and repealing Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 (COM(2020)0824),

–  having regard to the European Environment Agency report No 3/2015 of 1 October 2015 entitled ‘Marine protected areas in Europe’s seas – an overview and perspectives for the future’ and its briefing of 6 October 2020 entitled ‘Management effectiveness in the EU’s Natura 2000 network of protected areas’,

–  having regard to the agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris on 12 December 2015 (the Paris Agreement),

–  having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Fisheries,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A9-0339/2021),

A.  whereas the EU has ratified the Paris Agreement, as well as the European Green Deal and the recently adopted European Climate Law, which set an EU target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 and achieving the climate neutrality target by 2050 at the latest, as well as complementary goals, in order to fight the effects of global climate change;

B.  whereas the transition to a net-zero GHG, highly energy-efficient and highly renewables-based economy requires a rapid and clean energy transition that ensures sustainability, security of supply and affordability of energy, as well as the necessary energy infrastructure;

C.  whereas the significant decrease in renewable offshore electricity prices has made it one of the most competitively priced sources of energy, with the global weighted average levelised cost of energy for offshore wind declining by 48 % between 2010 and 2020, from EUR 0,14 to EUR 0,071 kWh, and consequently a critical element in the green transition, paving the way for a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, and has become one of the most important pillars of the EU’s climate ambitions; whereas offshore renewable energy (ORE) has the ability to utilise massive energy sources to protect households from energy poverty;

D.  whereas the EU strategy on offshore renewable energy should take into account the different geographical features of the EU’s sea basins, which make it challenging to develop a one-size-fits-all approach;

E.  whereas the EU ORE production sector is a technological leader with significant potential to boost the EU economy by supporting the growth of clean energy production in Europe and around the world;

F.  whereas the total amount available for EU research and development (R&D) programmes for offshore wind over the past 10 years was EUR 496 million; whereas public R&D investments in the wind energy value chain have already played a crucial role in allowing the sector to develop; whereas the investment needed to pursue the large-scale deployment of ORE by 2050 is estimated to be almost EUR 800 billion, around two thirds to fund the associated grid infrastructure and around a third for offshore power generation; whereas the NextGenerationEU recovery plan provides a unique opportunity to mobilise significant amounts of public capital in addition to private investment;

G.  whereas the skills and qualifications of the workforce are key to the success of the offshore renewable energy strategy;

H.  whereas EU ports play crucial role in ensuring offshore wind is cost-effective, and act as gateways to local development in coastal communities;

I.  whereas the North Sea is currently the world’s leading region for deployed capacity in offshore wind; whereas other European sea basins such as the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea are promising locations to scale up offshore wind production and deployment in the EU; whereas the Atlantic-neighbouring western EU Member States have high natural potential for both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind energy; whereas the Mediterranean-neighbouring southern EU Member States have high potential for mostly floating offshore wind energy; whereas the Baltic-Sea-neighbouring EU Member States have high natural potential for bottom-fixed wind energy; whereas the Black-Sea-neighbouring eastern EU Member States have great potential for both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind;

J.  whereas additional research on the impact of different offshore renewable technologies and infrastructure on marine ecosystems, marine biodiversity and marine protected areas is needed;

K.  whereas the transition towards a climate-neutral economy should be accompanied by restoration of nature, without compromising on the existing nature targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 or leaving anyone behind, as set out in the European Green Deal; whereas the energy transition should be fair and inclusive;

L.  whereas ORE projects and their environmental impact assessments must follow the mitigation hierarchy approach; whereas when avoidance is impossible or very difficult, reduction measures should be adopted and effectively implemented during all phases, from site selection to exploitation and decommissioning; whereas these mitigation measures include those against underwater noise set out in environmental impact assessments;

M.  whereas the feasibility of establishing an important project of common European interest for a large-scale floating windfarm and connecting electrolyser project should be assessed by the Commission;

N.  whereas the possibility of benefitting from compatibility between sea space requirements to ensure ORE compliance with the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 exists; whereas offshore windfarms can benefit marine biodiversity if designed and built sustainably; whereas a large expansion of offshore wind energy production requires an intelligent approach to ensure its coexistence with the activities that already take place in the affected areas, as well as to do the least possible harm to the environment; whereas noise pollution from the construction and operation of wind farms, and especially from maritime transport, has an impact on the marine ecosystem and should be addressed in environmental legislation; whereas the involvement of renewable energy developers at an early stage of the process will undoubtedly contribute to the successful allocation of sea space; whereas the allocation of space should be the result of joint maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management that goes beyond national borders; whereas offshore wind turbine electricity yields surpass those of onshore turbines and are more likely to be accepted by those living nearby;

O.  whereas any human activity, including renewable energy, should not be allowed in strictly protected areas of the EU designated as such in the framework of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030;

P.  whereas the strategy aims to provide a long-term framework that promotes sound coexistence between offshore infrastructure and other uses of the sea space, contributes to the protection of the environment and allows fishing communities to thrive;

Q.  whereas a just transition of workers from the offshore oil and gas sector to the ORE sector should be endorsed by improving recognition of their skills and qualifications; whereas upholding the highest social and environmental standards is important;

R.  whereas the uptake of ORE is dependent on the efforts of the public and private sectors; whereas publicly owned companies can play a role alongside private companies in the ORE sector; whereas the revision of State aid and public procurement rules should provide more flexibility in implementing the green transition, including ORE projects;

1.  Believes that combating climate change with the take up of ORE is vital to achieving the Paris Agreement goals and upholding the EU’s commitment to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 at the latest, in line with the latest scientific evidence, as confirmed in the European Green Deal and the NextGenerationEU recovery plan; stresses that a net-zero emissions economy requires renewable energy to be deployed on an unprecedented scale; stresses that many Member States are lagging behind in deploying the necessary renewable energy and infrastructure; further stresses that all Member States should make considerable efforts to reach their full renewable energy potential; emphasises that the EU will not be able to live up to its climate commitments if no further actions are taken to accelerate the deployment of ORE;

2.  Calls on the Commission to make ORE and other relevant energy technologies core components of the EU’s energy system by 2050;

3.  Emphasises that energy savings, energy efficiency and renewable energy are among the key drivers for reaching a net-zero emissions economy; recalls the Union’s commitment to the energy efficiency first principle and underlines the importance of implementing this principle in all relevant legislation and initiatives;

4.  Highlights that the energy production targets for ORE in all of the EU’s sea basins, as outlined in Commission communication COM(2020)0741, are at least 60 GW by 2030 and 340 GW by 2050; recalls that according to the Commission impact assessment accompanying communication COM(2020)0562(16), the installed capacity of offshore wind should be 70-79 GW to ensure a cost-competitive road to a 55 % reduction by 2030; calls on the Member States and the public and private sectors to exceed the 55 % reduction target by 2030; urges the Commission to revise public procurement and State aid rules to secure a cost-competitive transition supported by a well-functioning market pushing the uptake of offshore wind; notes that there are areas with largely untapped ORE potential, such as the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea; stresses that the decision to find space for this additional ORE capacity by 2030 is of the utmost importance and should be considered a priority and identified in the EU before 2023/2024 to allow construction by 2030; highlights that the competitiveness of offshore wind energy and ocean energy as an energy source will continue to increase and prices will continue to fall further in step with continuous development and deployment; highlights that ORE is a viable source of energy and that a sustainable and reliable energy system needs to combine ORE with other energy technologies, storage opportunities and flexible energy consumption;

5.  Believes that ORE needs to be sustainable across the entire value chain and have limited adverse impacts on the environment and on economic, social and territorial cohesion; recalls the promise of the European Green Deal that no-one should be left behind; underlines that the wellbeing of people should be at the heart of the green transition;

6.  Notes the competitive advantage of EU companies and technologies in the ORE sector; calls on the Commission to ensure that the EU is maintaining technological leadership, retaining talent and providing affordable, safe and sustainable energy while taking into account potential impacts, including those related to climate change and impacts on the marine environment; stresses the importance of maintaining this competitive advantage; underlines the potential for significant growth of the sector and its contribution to the EU economy, including technology and systems exports; stresses the importance of supporting R&D investments and building on the innovative ORE technology industry system through cross-border collaboration and partnership under Horizon Europe in order to facilitate and support robust European value chains, which are crucial for the twin transitions, while ensuring the swift uptake of the innovations developed in this field; emphasises the importance of high-quality industrial workplaces in facilitating a just transition;

7.  Underlines the need to maintain a clean, competitive and sustainable supply chain for ORE in the European Union; therefore stresses the need for suppliers to apply the highest quality health, safety and environmental standards according to European certification and standards determined in a dialogue process with all relevant stakeholders; further stresses the need to minimise transport costs in the supply chain; believes that public tenders should take these elements into consideration;

8.  Highlights that the deployment of ORE is an ideal opportunity for outermost regions and islands to decarbonise their energy mix and dramatically decrease their dependency on fossil fuel imports; calls for the ‘Clean Energy for EU Islands’ initiative to be stepped up with a strong focus on ORE; recalls that islands are particularly affected by sea level rise;

9.  Calls on the Commission to conduct, as soon as possible, an impact assessment to clarify the economic and socio-economic impacts of ORE, with a special focus on existing jobs and jobs created by deploying 300-450 GW of capacity by 2050;

10.  Calls for local competent authorities to assess initiatives that boost local economies, local sustainable jobs and economic activities through the uptake of ORE; calls for the identification of synergies between sectors that can best support the twin green and digital transitions and help to future-proof the economic recovery, along with the development of synergies with the actions enabling a sustainable blue economy;

Infrastructure and grids

Investment in infrastructure

11.  Stresses the urgency of improving and expanding existing infrastructure, without prejudice to the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and EU nature legislation, to enable the increased use of renewables-based electricity; regrets that a number of Member States have not yet reached their target of 10 % electric interconnection by 2020 and calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure adequate infrastructure, such as transmission lines, to integrate and transport offshore electricity from ORE; recalls the EU 2030 electricity interconnection target of 15 % by 2030, which is set out in Article 2 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 ; calls for the Commission to come up with a proposal that can speed up the deployment of the interconnection target; considers that the Union and its Member States should develop agreements on offshore energy infrastructure with neighbouring geographical regions;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure there is adequate infrastructure in the EU to ensure a cost-effective deployment of ORE;

13.  Highlights the importance of ensuring a sustainable and responsible development of the ORE sector, taking into account the important role of maritime transport and seaports; stresses that the development of ORE should take into account the need for safe maritime access lanes and corridors, and anchorage areas for shipping, as well as the future development of maritime access lanes to ports; underlines the importance of modern, sustainable and innovative seaports for the assembly, manufacturing and servicing of ORE equipment, and the considerable investment needed to upgrade port infrastructure, including transport terminals, and vessels to provide these services; points out the role of seaports as onshore landing points for renewable offshore-generated energy and the associated logistics, and as renewable energy hubs for electric offshore grid connection and cross-border interconnectors;

14.  Underlines that access to renewable offshore energy will also contribute to the greening of ports, including in terms of the onshore power supply for ships when at berth and their development as circular industry clusters; stresses that the Member States’ maritime spatial plans should be compatible with future trends, including new traffic flows, new shipping routes and bigger vessels, and should ensure that offshore energy infrastructure can coexist with maritime transport routes, the fishing industry, traffic separation schemes, anchorage areas, naval access and activities, and port development; strongly believes that the highest levels of safety for ships transiting near ORE infrastructure need to be ensured, including sufficient coverage of vessel traffic services and the provision of emergency support vessels in the area;

15.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a revision of the TEN-E Regulation to achieve the objective of the European Green Deal and make the legislation fit for 1,5 °C, and also welcomes the attention it gives to the ORE sector’s needs and priorities; stresses that the development of sustainable and efficient hybrid and radial offshore wind assets for generation, interconnection and transmission requires forward-looking public and private planning and investment; believes strongly that regulatory frameworks should facilitate anticipatory investments; stresses the need to secure coordination and alignment between onshore and offshore grid development plans, including through the identification of landing points for offshore connections and onshore grid uptakes; encourages the Member States to speed up the necessary grid infrastructure to facilitate the green transition, for which electrification is crucial; recognises that the huge investments made, which are often implemented simultaneously, will require carefully and precise planning;

16.  Underlines the importance of jointly defining and agreeing to cooperate on the amount of offshore renewable generation to be deployed within each sea basin by Member States in 2030, 2040 and 2050, in terms of ensuring investment security and the achievement of climate and energy goals;

17.  Recognises the potential for ORE in all European sea basins and calls on the Commission and the Member States to further advance the key technologies that will harness this energy;

18.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment with regard to the strategy to facilitate dialogue on the environmental, economic and social sustainability of ORE and to promote a ‘community of practice’ where all stakeholders, including industry, NGOs, fishers and scientists, can exchange views, share experience and work on joint projects at an early stage;

19.  Notes the potential advantages of combining offshore production facilities and transmission assets in the tender process; invites the Commission and the Member States to analyse the potential and possible challenges of this full-scope tendering approach and assess its applicability to different set-ups; stresses that this analysis has to take into account the possible challenges as regards ensuring incentives and optimal planning of offshore and onshore transmission grids;

20.  Recalls that electricity production from ORE also creates an opportunity for renewable hydrogen production as outlined in Commission communications COM(2020)0741, COM(2020)0299 and COM(2020)0301;

21.  Notes the inherent complementarity between different renewable energy technologies, in terms of shared infrastructure, supply chain synergies and more reliable aggregate power production;

22.  Underlines the need for investment in infrastructure to support the expansion of the ORE sector, notably investment in ports to accommodate larger turbines and components, cater for operations and maintenance (including training facilities), and build decommissioning and manufacturing centres for bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind; highlights the fact that ORE will become critical for the security of the energy supply and that necessary measures must be taken in order to secure infrastructure against cyberattacks;

Member State collaboration

23.  Stresses that Member State collaboration is vital in order to maximise effective use of offshore energy resources, taking into account the specificities of each area; highlights the importance of the North Seas Energy Cooperation and the need to include the UK again; notes that the current legal framework should be improved in order to facilitate such collaboration to a sufficient extent; strongly believes that failure to enhance collaboration between Member States and inter-connected non-EU countries will inhibit the roll-out of offshore energy; urges the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary action without any further delay; encourages the Member States to immediately coordinate and put forward plans for offshore development;

24.  Stresses that regional cooperation between Member States and neighbouring states at sea-basin level should be fostered through joint planning, by removing regulatory barriers, and also by creating regional marine spatial usage maps that are accessible to all stakeholders and regularly revised via a common monitoring framework;

25.  Welcomes the Commission’s intention to coordinate with Member States to support the deployment of at least 100 MW of wave and tidal energy by 2025 and at least 1 GW by 2030;

26.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure and repealing Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 and supports the creation of a unique point of contact per priority offshore grid corridor, which should facilitate coordination between Member States and the permit process for ORE projects of common interest;

District heating and cooling

27.  Notes that electricity and direct heating and cooling produced using ORE can contribute to the greening of any end uses of electricity, such as heat pumps, leading to a decrease in and eventually an elimination of GHG emissions; highlights the potential to incorporate ORE in district heating through clean electricity and heat pumps;

28.  Calls on the Commission to analyse best practices from mature district heating and cooling markets for the benefit of emerging markets; stresses that the Member States have the ability to build capacity to store heating and cooling and thereby encourage the uptake of major fluctuating ORE; stresses that a lack of data and disconnection with building renovation strategies at the municipality level is holding back further integration of renewable energy sources in district heating and cooling markets;

29.  Highlights the role of national and local authorities in strategic planning for heating and cooling and supporting district energy operators by de-risking investments and facilitating access to direct funding from the public sector;

Research and development

30.  Strongly believes that the EU and the Member States should support research into and the development of multipurpose interconnectors (MPIs); stresses the need to create a long-term framework for MPIs that can efficiently integrate the offshore and onshore markets; calls on the Commission to assist manufacturers of different equipment in developing a common standard that can ensure compatibility and interoperability among interconnectors; highlights that new technologies, such as MPIs, need to be designed, tested, demonstrated and de-risked in order to speed up market entry; calls for suitable framework conditions to be created in order to ensure fast development of these technologies;

31.  Urges the Commission, the Member States and the private sector to increase investment in research and development into circular and nature-inclusive ORE design, as well as technology for recycling and dismantling ORE stations;

32.  Underlines that the EU ORE sector relies on imported raw materials and components for production and that the supply chain of these materials should be protected; reiterates the need for suppliers to apply the highest quality, health, safety and environmental standards according to European certification and standards;

33.  Strongly believes that the EU and the Member States should support research into and the development of floating offshore wind, tidal, wave and current stations, which can be adapted to the different seabed conditions in Europe; also underlines, in this respect, the need to support research into and the development, scaling-up and commercialisation of the decarbonisation of the entire ORE value chain, of technologies using renewable energy sources such as offshore wind power to decarbonise other sectors, and of sector coupling;

34.  Highlights the need to exploit ORE in deep waters; highlights that floating technology enables access to higher and more constant wind speeds, which can also minimise the turbine’s environmental impact and reduce the pressure associated with coastal planning; calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote research, development, monitoring and innovation relating to technologies such as floating platforms; stresses that it is an outstanding opportunity for the EU to become a global leader in ORE technologies that will be key for decarbonisation;

35.  Considers it essential to have key segments of renewable energy value chains within Europe in order to achieve the EU’s climate goals and bring significant economic benefits to residents; calls for adequate measures to support the role of local European content in the renewable energy strategy supply chain and legislation;

36.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission and the European Investment Bank are committed to working with other financial institutions to support strategic and higher risk investments in offshore energy through InvestEU, while ensuring the EU remains a technological leader;

37.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, in the context of the European Green Deal, to make enhanced use of Union funds to support the development of ORE in outermost territories and islands in order to efficiently reduce their dependency on fossil fuels;

38.  Highlights that the expansion of ORE will require a large highly specialised and qualified workforce and calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary steps to pre-empt a shortage of skilled workers by ensuring attractive working conditions, taking into account health and safety; supports the Commission’s ambition to support competent national and regional authorities in creating and delivering ORE-specific education and training programmes and the need to develop a skills pool in the ORE field; calls on the Commission to include the ORE field in its next European skills agenda in order to help individuals, multinational enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises to develop the necessary skills for the ORE sector; underlines the importance of female employment in the highly technical environment of the offshore sector;

39.  Believes that throughout the full project cycle, it is crucial to design, develop and deploy renewable offshore energy in a circular and renewable way; especially stresses that the substantial amount of metals and minerals needed to support the growth of renewable technologies need to be responsibly and circularly sourced;

40.  Highlights the significant opportunity to develop offshore renewable hydrogen that can contribute to the wider development of the renewable hydrogen market; invites the Commission to assess how ORE sources could pave the way for the development of renewable hydrogen production;

41.  Highlights the importance of private and public investment in the ORE sector for the large-scale deployment of ORE technologies; reiterates its call on the Commission to tailor Horizon Europe to the development, scaling-up and commercialisation of breakthrough technologies and innovations in the Union so as to bridge the gap between innovation and market deployment, by providing risk financing for early-stage technology and demonstration projects and developing early value chains in order to support the development of research infrastructure, also with the aim of reducing the existing gaps between Member States;

42.  Highlights that improved ORE skills and sector-specific knowledge are assets that can be exported to non-EU countries and can thus support the EU’s export of services and contribute to mitigating climate change at global level;

Permits and maritime spatial plans

Streamlining the issuing of permits

43.  Stresses that meeting the 2030 and 2050 targets requires speeding up the deployment of ORE; highlights the need for a more sustainable management of maritime space and coasts to unlock the potential of ORE; strongly believes that a proper maritime spatial planning process needs to be accompanied by a solid approach to public participation so that the views of all stakeholders and coastal communities are taken into consideration; notes that the huge interest in ORE will attract an increasingly large number of permit applications; calls on the Member States to urgently simplify the relevant procedures and coordinate their efforts; encourages the Member States to embrace the single points of contact;

44.  Notes the current lengthy process for launching ORE projects and the urgent need to speed it up in order to reach the 2030 and 2050 goals; notes that streamlining the Member States’ procedures and technical standards will facilitate more rapid deployment; calls on the Member States to set up a transparent process and consider introducing time limits for issuing permits, including necessary environmental assessments and studies as well as stakeholder consultations, and to introduce time limits for authorisation when fully complete dossiers have been provided, with a deadline for a decision; stresses the importance of shortening procedures where necessary and taking measures to ensure deadlines are met;

45.  Underlines the importance and potential of pre-approved licencing for offshore development sites as well as the placement of connection and transmission lines in order to remove the uncertainty surrounding projects and reduce delivery times;

46.  Considers it of paramount importance to build a broad public consensus around ORE projects through the involvement of local actors to increase public acceptance of offshore wind and the large infrastructure it requires; calls for the transparent and meaningful involvement of coastal communities in projects, including those situated in the most peripheral regions and islands, as well as other stakeholders; stresses the importance of increasing the general public’s trust in the ability of renewable energy to achieve energy independence and secure energy supplies; encourages the Commission and the Member States to develop one-stop shops with streamlined information on financing possibilities for demonstration projects for breakthrough ORE technologies;

Aligning maritime spatial plans and national energy and climate plans

47.  Notes that the total space required to ensure the offshore wind capacity for the northern seas meets the 2050 goals is expected to be 2,8 %; strongly believes that involving ORE developers early on in the process will contribute to the successful allocation of sea space; stresses that space allocation should be the result of joint maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management that goes beyond national borders; calls for a transparent process and for regional maritime spatial plans to be accessible in order to facilitate an early and inclusive approach for all stakeholders;

48.  Draws attention to the recommendations of the Horizon-2020-funded project on multi-use in European seas, which is exploring the opportunities for multi-use in European seas across five EU sea basins; recalls its guidance that sustainable development of the ocean can no longer rely on single-sector management, but requires a more holistic, integrated approach, and that the multi-use is not limited to sharing the ‘same’ maritime space, but should encompass joint use of infrastructure and other assets and joint activities;

49.  Underlines the urgency of ensuring sufficient space for the development of ORE, and considers that multi-use needs should be proactively facilitated and incentivised through public regulatory bodies and respective support programmes, going well beyond mere spatial planning solutions; notes that when developing their maritime spatial plans, the Member States were asked to seek not only best available data and broad public participation, but also opportunities for co-location of maritime activities;

50.  Notes that pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2018/1999, the Member States were required to submit their national energy and climate plans (NECPs) by 31 December 2019 and are required to submit a progress report every two years; notes that pursuant to Directive 2014/89/EU, the Member States were required to draw up maritime spatial plans by 31 March 2021; deplores the fact that not all Member States have submitted their maritime spatial plans yet and urges the Commission to take action; notes the risk of incompatibility of the NECPs and maritime spatial plans as regards space allocation; stresses that urgent alignment of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive and NECP Regulation, as well as other relevant EU legislation, is needed; urges the Member States to immediately coordinate and lay out plans for 2030 and post-2030 offshore development;

51.  Welcomes, in this regard, the strategy’s aim of providing a long-term framework that promotes sound coexistence between offshore infrastructure and other uses of sea space and contributes to the protection of the environment;

52.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt a full and holistic life-cycle approach when planning and deploying the 300 GW to 450 GW of ORE capacity by 2050;

53.  Calls on the Commission to conduct an analysis of the impacts of the decommissioning of offshore installations and to adopt, if necessary, an EU strategy on sustainable decommissioning of offshore infrastructure in order to minimise environmental, safety and economic impacts; highlights that such a strategy should include the dismantling of the existing infrastructure and cover future decommissioning activities; stresses that a future EU-wide legal framework will only be necessary if the analysis shows that the current legal framework and instruments in the EU Member States have significant shortcomings; urges the Commission to set up a simple monitoring framework that can secure transparent and efficient reporting of the progress of the deployment of ORE showing whether Member States are on track to reach the 2030 and 2050 GW targets; believes that the Commission should report to Parliament, in line with the reporting requirements under the Renewable Energy Directive, on whether the deployment of ORE is on track;

54.  Calls for an EU-wide landfill ban on decommissioned wind turbine blades by 2025 in order to ensure circularity, minimise the negative environmental impacts on soil and oceans and increase the level of soil protection;

Market design

55.  Stresses that the uptake of ORE is dependent on the adequate implementation of well-designed market rules and a stable regulatory framework given the long duration of such investments; highlights that the cost of offshore wind has fallen dramatically during the last two decades, and, as a result, calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the best possible framework conditions for market-driven offshore wind development; stresses that without a phase-out of fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies as soon as possible and a considerable increase in offshore wind energy production, meeting renewable energy goals and limiting global warming to less than 1,5 °C by the end of the century would be impossible;

56.  Calls for the assessment of the distribution of costs and benefits between the generation and transmission of ORE to be sustainable and socio-economically viable, ensuring the right incentives and a stable regulatory framework for developers; stresses that uncertainty regarding the distribution of costs and benefits is deterring companies from launching ORE projects; invites the Commission to expedite the publishing of EU guidance on sharing the costs and benefits of offshore hybrid projects;

57.  Stresses that existing EU funding instruments, such as the Connecting Europe Facility, can support the mobilisation of the required funding to promote cross-border renewable energy solutions and joint projects in the EU; notes that the Connecting Europe Facility can be used to identify potential offshore development sites and fund the necessary studies and construction works for projects between two or more EU Member States;

58.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the Members States, where relevant, to include ORE projects in their national recovery and resilience plans and other national programmes financed through EU funds;

59.  Calls for a revision of the existing regulatory framework governing EU electricity markets in order to facilitate the uptake of ORE and eliminate artificial trade barriers, fixed prices, subsidies and other market-distorting mechanisms that prevent the further successful integration of ORE; calls on the Commission and the Member States to carefully analyse the option of creating dedicated offshore bidding zones and existing bidding zones and their suitability for integrating the growing capacity for ORE; invites the Commission to identify existing regulatory mechanisms that successfully promote the integration of ORE in a well-functioning energy market, as part of a future-proof model including the facilitation of hybrid projects and new forms of collaboration; calls on the Commission to examine better development conditions in hybrid projects in order to ensure better and faster implementation of ORE hybrid projects and more flexible terms to enhance innovation, including new asset categories, in particular for offshore wind farms connected to interconnectors for two or more markets; recognises that tariffs should accommodate the risks of being an industrial first mover investing in the deployment of a new technology;

60.  Underlines the need for a market design that is fully compatible with ORE, including the need to ensure an optimal ORE bidding zone configuration; believes that ORE infrastructure at transmission level should be regulated based on unbundling rules with a clearly defined separation of roles and responsibilities in terms of systems responsibility, third-party access and transparent tariffs and conditions, thus contributing to the single market and the energy union;

61.  Recognises that the clean energy transition requires the sustainability and the carbon footprint of the entire value chain to be taken into consideration when exploiting ORE and other energy technologies; stresses that offshore tender processes should include sustainability criteria;

62.  Recognises that renewable hydrogen will play a key role in the EU’s path to carbon neutrality by 2050; stresses that ORE, due to sheer project scale and high capacity, will play an essential role in the acceleration of renewable hydrogen production; believes that support for research and development is required so as to incentivise the industry to take up renewable hydrogen in the market via large commercial projects, thus creating a real sustainable demand in hard-to-abate sectors;

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63.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 275, 25.10.2003, p. 32.
(2) OJ L 257, 28.8.2014, p. 135.
(3) OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 82.
(4) OJ L 115, 25.4.2013, p. 39.
(5) OJ L 348, 20.12.2013, p. 129.
(6) OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 1.
(7) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 10.
(8) OJ C 23, 21.1.2021, p. 116.
(9) OJ C 270, 7.7.2021, p. 2.
(10) OJ C 371, 15.9.2021, p. 58.
(11) OJ C 425, 20.10.2021, p. 43.
(12) OJ C 15, 12.1.2022, p. 56.
(13) OJ C 15, 12.1.2022, p. 45.
(14) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0338.
(15) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0277.
(16) SWD(2020)0176.

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