Europe will need to invest €6.5 million in expanding its ports and building new infrastructure to deliver the offshore wind expansion set out in the EU’s strategy on offshore renewable energy, according to WindEurope.
Development of port infrastructure is a matter for local, regional and national authorities, but the industry body suggested the European Commission and national governments could play key roles.
It called on the commission to develop a strategy for ports and mobilise financial instruments to support the necessary investments, given ports’ strategic importance in offshore wind expansion.
The industry body also called on governments to ensure that ports are included in their national recovery strategies.
Turbines and equipment for offshore wind are transported through ports, much of the sector’s supply chain is drawn to ports, and ports will be a hub for the production and transportation of renewable hydrogen from offshore wind, WindEurope explained.
In its new report, A 2030 Vision for European Offshore Wind Ports, the industry body added that Europe needs investments in port infrastructure, heavy-loading quaysides, deep berths, supply chain, hydrogen infrastructure and space.
“Ports are essential for offshore wind,” said Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO.
“They’re a vital part of the supply and logistics chain that’s needed for the installation, assembly, operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. We can’t expand offshore without also expanding and upgrading Europe’s port infrastructure.”
Europe has about 25GW of offshore wind capacity today, and will have 400GW by 2050, under EU plans.
Last year, the EU published its offshore renewable energy strategy, which calls for 300GW of offshore wind capacity in the EU-27 by 2050. Including the ambitions of non-member states – primarily the UK and Norway – Europe could have up to 400GW of offshore wind capacity by mid-century, if all plans are realised.
Dickson added: "With growing volumes of offshore wind, ports are the perfect hubs for green energy.
“The offshore wind supply chain is often located in or around them. They are then integrated into wider industrial ecosystems.
“That's why ports will play a key role in the decarbonisation of, for example, chemicals and refineries in coastal industrial clusters, through the renewable energy for which they serve as a hub.”