Wind of change? EU wants big increase in offshore renewables by 2050

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Jens Dresling/AP

Brussels wants to massively increase Europe’s offshore wind farm capacity over the next 30 years.

That’s the latest proposal from the European Commission to help it hit green goals and achieve climate neutrality by 2050

“The strategy would deliver a win-win for the environment and the economy,” said EU vice president Frans Timmermans.

“We green our energy supply, support European industry and create jobs, protect biodiversity, reduce pollution and ensure a healthy basis for thriving fishing communities.

“We’re aiming high because there is both a clear urgency and potential.”

The strategy seeks to increase Europe’s offshore wind capacity from 12 gigawatts (GW) now to 60 GW by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050.

But with such rapid development, environmental organisations want to ensure marine environments don’t become a casualty.

“We need clean energy just as much as we need healthy seas if we want to avert the ongoing climate and environmental crises – both of which threaten our own survival, says Sergiy Moroz, Senior Policy Officer, European Environmental Bureau.

Environmentalists are concerned that the construction and operation of offshore fixed-bottom turbines can impact biodiversity, including the loss of sea mammals, birds and fish.

Another issue is the price tag. The European Commission estimates it needs €800 billion between now and 2050 to make the plans a success.

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