EU Commission targets green energy for the blue economy

In: Windfarms
27/07/2020
On 23rd July, the European Commission adopted an updated action plan for a sustainable, resilient and competitive blue economy in the EU Atlantic area, covering France, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, including ambitions to advance marine renewable energy.

In a time of social and economic uncertainty, the EU is preparing the next generation of EU-funded programmes to foster economic recovery. The revamped action plan will give new impetus to the Atlantic maritime strategy and will strengthen the participating countries’ recovery efforts. It will contribute to the European Green Deal, a socially inclusive model of sustainable development and job creation, while safeguarding marine and coastal environments and securing a healthy ocean.


The Commission first adopted the Atlantic maritime strategy in 2011. The revamped Actions Plan includes new thematic focus, new governance mechanisms and new monitoring framework.


The plan focuses on key several pillars addressing issues, such as:

 
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by supporting research and investment in marine renewable energy for which the Atlantic has a huge potential;

- Promoting green shipping and coordinating actions against marine litter to reduce pollution;

- Addressing the skills gaps in the blue economy sectors and by supporting cooperation between EU training centres and businesses;

- Improving coastal observation and cost effective coastal protection measures in the face of climate change.


The Action Plan will reinforce cooperation among the participating countries and include coastal regions and stakeholders as well as possible expansion to include the USA, Canada and Brazil.


The EU Atlantic area represents an important testbed for the development of novel marine renewables, especially ocean energy and floating offshore wind e.g. the WindFloat Atlantic project. The Action Plan presents a goal of  promotion of carbon neutrality through marine renewable energy and a set of concrete actions:


- Set specific deployment objectives for marine renewable energy;

- Define best sites for marine renewable energy farms (including offshore wind) and adjacent ports;

- Implement incentives for deployment of innovative renewable energy installations;

- Pool together different marine renewable energy initiatives covering the EU Atlantic area;

- Develop public awareness on marine renewable energy;

- Strengthen cooperation in the European ocean energy community;

- Develop a specific ocean energy framework for EU islands in the Atlantic.


The Commission is expected to present a strategy for the development of offshore renewable energy in the EU in the fourth quarter of 2020. It should build upon inter alia the Atlantic action plan 2.0.

The European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “In the midst of the crisis, more than ever, we must stay focused on making our future green: the EU Green Deal and the green transition should guide our recovery plan. The development of a sustainable blue economy, targeting specific challenges and opportunities at sea basin level, serves exactly these objectives. We must put green in the blue and blue in the green.’’


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