Given the urgency of the transition to clean energy, Europe has set its sights high. The European Union aims to halve greenhouse gas emissions in the next ten years and attain net zero by 2050. Electrification from renewable energy resources will play an important role in these decarbonisation efforts. The European Commission envisions offshore wind will meet 25% of electricity demand by 2050 — an increase to 450 GW or a 20-fold increase over today’s levels. 

Although 450 GW is only one-third of Europe’s estimated potential for offshore wind, this is still an overwhelming task. The challenges of harvesting and bringing wind power ashore in these quantities cannot be solved with piecemeal policies. It is much like baking a pie. You don’t bake it in slices, you bake it in one whole pie. Policymakers will need to figure out the ‘recipe’ for integrating offshore wind. In addition to issues of finance and permitting, they will need to develop the necessary onshore and offshore grid connections, as well as implement the changes to electricity market design that these necessitate. Without a comprehensive, regional approach, meeting the Green Deal targets will cost consumers dearly. 

The most efficient and cost-effective approach involves a fully integrated, transnational mechanism with the capacity needed to deliver the energy to Europe’s demand centres. The authors of this study outline measures for coordinating the numerous actors, explore the intricacies of shared connection and hybrid schemes, and underscore the associated legal and market issues. This technical study is designed to generate discussion on this highly dynamic issue.