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  • Arent van Wassenaer

The EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy poses challenges we haven't seen as of yet


This picture was taken in the wee morning hours of Friday 20 November, 2020 @ Scheveningen Beach (the site whereThe Faithful Goose, faithfully, every morning takes a plunge in the North Sea, in the company of likeminded faithful friends). On the left, a number of tiny flickering lights is visible, 23 kms West of the coast, shining from the Offshore windfarm Luchterduinen, built and operated by Eneco and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC). These 43 turbines produce enough electricity equivalent to the annual consumption for 150,000 households.

The day before, 19 November, the European Commission published its new strategy, known as the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy. This Strategy proposes to increase Europe's offshore wind capacity from its current level of 12 GW to at least 60 GW by 2030 and to 300 GW by 2050. The Commission aims to complement this with 40 GW of ocean energy and other emerging technologies such as floating wind and solar by 2050. This means that by 2050 we will have seen a 25-fold increase in energy produced by renewable energy produced by offshore wind.

This is a gigantic operation, requiring an estimated investment of nearly €800 billion between now and 2050 to meet these proposed objectives.

The investments required pose enormous challenges for all relevant stakeholders involved: the industry and utility companies (construction and operation of the wind farms, transmission and distribution of the very high voltage power produced, creating networks), policy makers, authorities, financiers, numerous experts. It will require a whole new level of cooperation, resilience and commitment. But there are other stakeholders too. Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “Today's strategy outlines how we can develop offshore renewable energy in combination with other human activities, such as fisheries, aquaculture or shipping, and in harmony with nature. The proposals will also allow us to protect biodiversity and to address possible socio-economic consequences for sectors relying on good health of marine ecosystems, thus promoting a sound coexistence within the maritime space.”

In order to align the interests of all stakeholders involved there is a need for a new brand of positively affirmed stakeholder participation. This is exactly where The Faithful Goose fits in. How to get all the different geese involved flying in one future-shaped formation, on their way to power for all, with due and innovative respect for all interests at stake.

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