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Reports

Our energy, our future

Our energy, our future

How offshore wind will help Europe go carbon-neutral

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Overview

Offshore wind energy is at the core of how Europe can go carbon-neutral. The European Commission has big goals for offshore wind: between 230 and 450 GW by 2050. Reaching 450 GW is part of a Commission scenario to deliver climate neutrality by 2050. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), offshore wind could become the number one source of power generation in Europe by 2042. Scaling up from 20 GW today to 450 GW by 2050 will require a visionary approach.

This report shows that it is feasible to deploy 450 GW offshore wind by 2050. It identifies the challenges involved on marine space, grids and supply chain and it recommends how policymakers can help tackle them.

Findings

1
WindEurope’s 450 GW vision for offshore wind by 2050: 380 GW in the North Seas and 70 GW in Southern European waters.

2
380 GW of offshore wind in the North Seas would require less than 3% of the total area of the North Seas.

3
Europe could install 248 GW of offshore wind in the North Seas at less than €50/MWh in 2050. However if current spatial planning exclusions continue to 2050 as they are today, it could only reach 112 GW at that cost range.

4
The cheapest and most space-efficient way to build 450 GW is through the multiple-use of the same maritime space by different sectors.

5
To build 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050, annual installation rates need to increase from today’s 3 GW per year to over 20 GW per year in 2030.

6
Investments in offshore grids would need to ramp up from less than €2bn in 2020 to up €8bn per year by 2030.

7
Europe should step up onshore grid investments to between €10 bn to €50 bn per year by 2030

Explore the key figures

Sub-regions used in the analysis

Population density in Europe

Breakdown by sea basin and country of 450 GW of offshore wind

Location of 380 GW of offshore wind in 2050 by percentage of total sea area (without spatial exclusions), by sub-region

Relative LCOE for offshore wind in the North Seas (without spatial exclusions)

Distribution of area per LCOE to allocate offshore wind in a scenario without and with spatial exclusion

Relative LCOE for offshore wind in the North Seas (with spatial exclusions

Installation rate required to achieve 450 GW by 2050

Offshore wind farm development stages

Grid development, leasing, consenting, financial closure and
installation rates required to achieve 450GW by 2050

Consenting and installation rates required to achieve 85 GW by 2050
for the Atlantic Ocean

Consenting and installation rates required to achieve 212 GW by 2050
for the North Sea

Consenting and installation rates required to achieve 83 GW by 2050
for the Baltic Sea

Consenting and installation rates required to achieve 70 GW by 2050
for Southern European waters

Leasing, consenting, financial closure and installation rates required
to achieve 450 GW by 2050

Additional grid development and installation rates required
to achieve 450 GW by 2050

CAPEX rates required to achieve 450 GW by 2050

Ireland distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

France distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

UK distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Belgium distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

The Netherlands distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Germany distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Denmark distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Norway distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Sweden distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Finland distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Estonia distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Latvia distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Lithuania distribution per country sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

Poland distribution per sub-region to allocate offshore wind up to 100km,
>100km and for export

2050 Vision: offshore wind power imports and exports

Maritime spatial planning and multiple uses of offshore wind farms

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