Skip to main content

Offshore renewable energy

The renewable energy of the seas consists of many different sources that are abundant, natural and clean, like wind, wave and tidal.

The EU, with its 5 sea basins, has massive potential for both offshore wind and ocean energy. Renewable energy from the seas can be harnessed by a great variety of technologies, making it a cornerstone of the clean energy transition.

In line with EU countries’ regional cumulative offshore goals of around 111 GW by 2030 and 317 GW by 2050, offshore renewables are poised to become a main pillar of Europe’s future electricity mix.

To deliver on the EU’s energy and climate goals, and at the same time reduce our need for energy imports, increase the competitiveness and affordability of our electricity and ensure security of energy supply, the EU is speeding up the green transition and investing massively in renewable energy.

The EU, a global leader on wind

The EU has helped develop wind power thanks to its ambitious policies and investments. European companies have invaluable experience by being 'first movers'. The first offshore wind farm was installed in Denmark in 1991.

Currently, the EU is a global leader in the manufacturing of key wind turbine components, as well as in the foundations and cables industry: almost half of the active companies in the wind sector (onshore and offshore) are headquartered in the EU. 

EU strategy on offshore renewable energy

To ensure that offshore renewable energy can help reach the EU's ambitious energy and climate targets for 2030 and 2050, the Commission published a dedicated EU strategy on offshore renewable energy (COM/2020/741) in 2020. It proposed concrete ways forward to support the long-term sustainable development of the sector, setting Commission targets for an installed capacity of at least 60 GW of offshore wind and 1 GW of ocean energy by 2030, and 300 GW and 40 GW, respectively, by 2050. EU countries have already exceeded the targets proposed by the Commission, both in the short and long term. 

The strategy addresses a broad range of areas, such as maritime spatial planning, coordinated grid planning and development, improving the regulatory framework, mobilising investment and EU funding, research and innovation and developing supply chains.

Implementing the strategy 

The adoption of the EU strategy on offshore renewable energy generated important political momentum, kicked off by a conference for ministers and public authorities, organised by the Commission in 2021. It was followed-up by Head of State and Government summits and declarations that took place on 18 May 2022 in Esbjerg, on 30 August 2022 in Marienborg and on 24 April 2023 in Ostend, as well as several summits by EU Energy Ministers, among others.

The actions proposed in the strategy have to a large extent been implemented, or are well under way. In 2023, the Commission adopted a Communication on the delivery of the EU Offshore Strategy (COM/2023/668). It outlines the achievements on the strategy's implementation and also includes further actions and areas of focus for the Commission, such as

A key deliverable of the strategy was to revise the Regulation on Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) to better consider offshore renewables and grids. It includes infrastructure categories for hybrid offshore grids and radial lines, as well as permitting provisions to accelerate the scale-up of offshore grids. In addition, the TEN-E Regulation supports regional cooperation between EU countries to define, with support from the Commission, non-binding regional goals for offshore renewable deployment within each sea basin. In January 2023, EU countries concluded such regional agreements for the first time, to be revised every 2 years. 

Based on the ambitions expressed by EU countries, TEN-E calls for ENTSO-E to develop offshore network development plans (ONDPs) for each EU sea basin. ENTSO-E published the first ONDPs in January 2024, to be revised every 2 years.

As a subsequent TEN-E deliverable, the Commission adopted in June 2024, Guidance on collaborative investment frameworks for offshore energy projects to support EU countries, national regulatory authorities and transmission system operators in their discussions on cost-sharing agreements for achieving their regional offshore renewable targets. ENTSO-E will accordingly apply this Guidance to the ONDPs by mid-2025.

Furthermore, as indicated in the Communication on delivering on the EU offshore strategy, the Commission has worked on the implementation of all other committed actions. For example, it launched a working group on offshore renewables under the Clean Energy Industrial Forum, to identify supply chain challenges of the sector to reach the 2030 and 2050 goals.

Offshore wind energy

The deployment of offshore wind energy is at the core of delivering the European Green Deal and ensuring Europe’s competitiveness and security of energy supply. The installed offshore wind capacity in the EU was 19.38 GW in 2023. 

The revised Renewable Energy Directive, adopted in 2023, sets an EU target for renewables of at least 42.5%, which will require that the installed wind capacity grows to more than 500 GW by 2030. 


To harness the full potential of offshore wind in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and to boost cooperation between countries in these regions, the EU is part of the High-Level Groups on energy infrastructure. While all High-Level Groups have held discussions on offshore renewables and grids, the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) and the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) put particular focus on their development.

Ocean energy

Ocean energy technologies, like wave and tidal converters, are part of the EU's 'Blue Economy'. They are emerging rapidly and have the potential to provide steady and predictable power output and contribute to reaching the EU’s climate and energy goals. Thanks to their industrial links with hydropower, shipbuilding, wind turbine manufacturing and offshore oil and gas, ocean energy technologies can rely on a strong European supply chain.

EU countries and the private sector have invested more than €4 billion over the last 10 years in research and pilot projects on ocean energy. Through the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan, the EU has set cost-reduction targets on ocean technologies for the next decade.

The first areas that could benefit from ocean technologies are offshore installations and islands that today have high electricity costs. More information can be found in the ocean energy barometer 2022 and in the CORDIS results pack that describes 10 EU-funded ocean energy technology projects.

Investing in offshore renewables

Offshore renewable energy covers several energy sources and various technologies, which are at different stages of development. These come with their own set of challenges and opportunities for European energy systems, sea users, industrial actors and civil society.

The continued development of European energy infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, market design and research and innovation is necessary to provide a long-term perspective for offshore renewable energy and facilitate the required investment. This includes integrating offshore renewable energy at sea basin level in the North, Baltic, Mediterranean and Black seas, the Atlantic Ocean and the EU’s outermost regions and overseas territories, and ensuring ambitious objectives in national maritime spatial plans.

Related links