At the European Commission’s inaugural PCI Energy Days on March 19, RGI celebrated the signing ceremony of the Marine Grid Declaration. The Declarationlays out principles specific to grid deployment in the marine environment, including promotion of early two-way communication with stakeholders, adequate protection of the marine environment and knowledge sharing. In doing so, it supports the smooth development of the offshore grid infrastructure needed to integrate a growing amount of renewables and meet Europe’s climate and energy targets.
Signatories of the Marine Grid Declaration recognise the urgent need to develop and apply best-practice approaches for working in the marine environment. Indeed, it is expected that approximately one third of the needed power grids will be built in the marine environment, including to connect increasing quantities of offshore wind. “The cumulated impacts of these activities are still poorly understood, and the principles set in the Declaration will guide project developers, civil society and other stakeholders to deal with challenges, develop solutions and learn from each other’s experiences”, RGI’s CEO Antonella Battaglini explains.
European Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, welcomed the signatories’ pledge, saying "I congratulate the signatories of the Marine Grid Declaration on their timely commitment to applying best practices in marine grid development. I trust the Marine Grid Declaration will serve as a blueprint for an ecosystem approach in energy infrastructure development in the marine environment."
NGO Germanwatch’s Policy Director Christoph Bals underlined the importance of the Declaration with regard to developing and implementing good practices: “The connection of marine renewables to the grid is a very important addition to a renewable energy system. It must be implemented in a way to minimise risks for the marine environment. The Declaration is a big step towards good practices”. He was supported by Belgian grid operator Elia’s Chief Officer for Community Relations, Ilse Tant, who stressed that: “This Declaration establishes a clear framework of principles which will guide every stakeholder in their efforts to avoid, reduce and eventually offset negative impacts on the marine environment resulting from marine grid activities”.
To put Europe on track with Paris Agreement targets, offshore renewables and grid deployment is paramount. Removing and avoiding impacts on nature and other business activities will reduce the risks of deployment delays and opposition. We therefore, need to speed up offshore grid development in accordance with nature protection principles. “It is incumbent on all of us to act now to protect the environment for future generations. This Declaration is a recognition of the responsibilities that TSOs have to shape and deliver sustainable electricity transmission infrastructure in the marine environment, which is key to achieving the climate and energy targets. This is very much in line with the EirGrid approach to Grid Development”, said Liam Ryan, Director for Grid Development and Interconnection at Ireland’s TSO EirGrid.
Italian TSO Terna’s Head of Strategy, Development and System Operation, Luigi Michi, highlighted that “The Terna Development Plan foresees marine investments in the range of € 4.5 billion, these are fundamental enablers of the energy transition. The principles of the Declaration and the Strategic Environmental Assessment will support our strategic decisions and guide them towards protecting the environment and the sea”. While Jérôme Partos, Vice President of French NGO France Nature Environnement, underlined that “FNE is happy to join this declaration. Although marine wildlife is broadly at threat, it remains insufficiently known. Collaboration between TSO and representative environmental NGOs is the proper way to deal efficiently with marine biotopes issues. As seas know no border, this international and ambitious approach is an urgent necessity”.
The Marine Grid Declaration builds on principles previously agreed in RGI’s European Grid Declaration, and focuses on electricity network development and nature conservation, as well as transparency and public participation.
To sign the Marine Grid Declaration or the European Grid Declaration, please get in touch with us and contact Dení Aguilar Bellamy (firstname.lastname@example.org).