COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
– Resume –
Offshore renewable energy a cornerstone of the EU’s clean energy transition
- Developing offshore renewable energy and by greening maritime transport and ports. The EU aspires to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 55% of 1990 levels by 2030 and become climate neutral by 2050. Offshore renewable energy could help meet these targets and generate a quarter of the EU’s electricity in 2050, mainly (though not exclusively) through offshore wind energy. A
- sustainable ocean energy mix should include (in addition to bottom-fixed offshore wind) floating wind, thermal, wave and tidal energy – emerging technologies that are expected to reach commercial stage within ten years.
- To speed up their development, in 2020 the Commission published a new EU offshore renewable energy strategy that aims to multiply five-fold the capacity for offshore renewable energy by 2030 and 30-fold by 2050.
Possible extension of the EU Emission Trading System to maritime transport and aligning the taxation of energy products with EU energy and climate policies when revising the Energy Taxation Directive.
- Considering incorporating new propulsion systems in the current review of the Recreational Craft Directive, and revising the ship source pollution directive. Meanwhile, the FuelEU initiative will boost the production and uptake of renewable and low-carbon fuels (such as hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels, biofuels, synthetic fuels, electricity and other sustainable energies such as wind), as well as the use of onshore power supply for ships at berth.
- Both the TEN-T Regulation and the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directives will be revised and aligned in this sense, namely to ensure a corresponding deployment of adequate refuelling infrastructure.
- EU shipyards could seize the opportunities arising from the fast-growing markets of innovative energy-efficient service vessels that should significantly reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
To support the decarbonisation and depollution of energy production, maritime transport and ports, the Commission will:
– create a Blue Forum for users of the sea to coordinate a dialogue between offshore operators, stakeholders and scientists engaged in fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, tourism, renewable energy and other activities. It will develop synergies between their activities and reconcile competing uses of the sea;
– promote the use of EU funds to green maritime transport by
a) increasing the uptake of short-sea shipping instead of using more polluting modes;
b) renovating the EU’s maritime fleet (e.g. passenger ships and supply vessels for offshore installations) to improve their energy efficiency; and c) developing the EU’s highly-advanced manufacturing and technological capabilities;
- aim to use the new European Maritime, Aquaculture and Fisheries Fund to support fishing fleets in adopting cleaner engines and techniques, provided these renovations do not generate overcapacity and overfishing;
- pursue the objective of zero-emission ports, as highlighted in the sustainable and smart mobility strategy, including through its work with the sustainable ports subgroup of the European Ports Forum, to discuss with relevant stakeholders and share and promote best practices and bottom-up initiatives in greening port services13 ;
- support Member States, through the reinforced Union Civil Protection Mechanism and anti-pollution measures of the European Maritime Safety Agency, to prepare for and respond to marine pollution accidents.
- Circular economy
The new EU action plan on zero pollution offers an opportunity to step up action to tackle pollution from plastic, nutrients and contaminants, and underwater noise. Ship recycling will also contribute to the circular economy. ¨ The new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (€6 billion for 2021-2027) will continue to provide financial support for fishers to retrieve and collect litter and lost fishing gears.
- Climate adaptation
Adaptation activities, such as developing green infrastructure in coastal areas and protecting coastlines from the risk of erosion and flooding will help preserve biodiversity and landscapes, while benefitting tourism and the coastal economy.
To conclude, the new Sustainable Blue Economy communication:
- calls on all maritime players to base their activities on the responsible use of natural resources, on decarbonisation and on circular economy concepts
- sets out a detailed agenda for greening the blue economy, underpinned by international ocean governance
- facilitates coexistence and synergies of economic activities in the maritime space through Maritime Spatial Planning, without damaging the environment
- proposes a series of actions to boost investment in research (e.g. Mission on Oceans and Waters), skills and innovation, and mobilizes financing opportunities under the new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, and other EU Programmes (e.g. Resilience and Recovery Facility)