One of the longest public consultations in European history, on development of a EU maritime policy, drew to a close at the end of June. But the wind industry will have to wait until October to find out whether its call for a policy framework for offshore wind energy will be heeded by policy makers. The signals from the EU executive body are promising. Commission President José Manuel Barroso says an integrated approach to managing the various maritime interests could support energy policy. "Developing sea-based energies is key to our future energy security," he told a conference in Bremen, Germany, in May. "For offshore wind and other types of sea energy, the challenges include connection to the grid and insurance costs. Maritime policy can help provide a favourable framework, which in turn will promote huge employment opportunities in the coastal regions and beyond." The European Wind Energy Association notes that for the first time offshore wind energy is being regarded by the Commission as an important economic activity for coastal areas, both in terms of the energy services it can provide and as a source for employment and wealth.