Offshore grid infrastructure: understanding cumulative impacts & exploring multi-functionality and environmental monitoring

By 2030, some 20.000 km of new subsea cables are needed in the seas of Europe with an estimated investment cost of €50 billion (source: ENTSO-E). Permitting authorities are already being confronted with the need to understand impacts of offshore energy infrastructure. In view of the planned offshore expansion, the question of how to measure and deal with cumulative impacts is daunting. The risk of delayed or refused permits, in the absence of sufficient information, is real.

Offshore workshop - stakeholders' perspectives on offshore grids and the marine environment

In March, the European Parliament and Council have adopted the ‘Regulation on Guidelines for Trans-European Energy Infrastructure’. This legislation is another step towards the European objective of an internal energy market which will support the integration of renewable energies and promote the interconnection of energy networks. Integral part of the legislation is the identification of ‘Projects of Common Interest’ (PCIs) which will be subject to a European permitting regime and eligible for European funding. Many of the projects that are proposed for the first list of PCIs are subsea cables. The implementation of these projects will thus be another building block towards an expansion of offshore grid infrastructure in Europe, and towards improved international cooperation to achieve this.