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To deliver a Green Deal, making Europe the world’s first climate neutral continent, renewable power production must become the main source of energy for the entire economy. According to scenario analysis by the European Commission, such a transformation will increase electricity demand by a factor of up to 2.5 towards 2050.
This means the pace of the renewable energy buildout has to increase. For offshore wind, the European Commission estimates need for between 400 and 450GW offshore wind capacity installed by 2050. That equates to a 20-fold increase from the around 20GW installed today.
Fortunately, The recent steep cost reductions in offshore wind energy indicate that this ambitious undertaking is economically feasible.
The buildout must be attained while also protecting the local environment, while securing a just transition, offsetting jobs lost in the fossil energy sector with new opportunities in the renewables industry – and while ensuring cost-efficiency in both generation and grid to keep the European economy running.
Doing so will require Europe’s answers to three broad questions:
- How do we find the space?
- How do we ensure sufficient transmission capacity?
- How do we enable the industry to scale?
This paper is meant to kickstart the European discussion between governments, industry and civil society on how to best find the answers that enable offshore wind to help decarbonise Europe.