The ongoing biodiversity and climate crisis have prompted various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), wind industry actors and transmission system operators (TSOs) to join forces and cooperate in a coalition to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind energy and grid infrastructure while ensuring alignment with nature protection and healthy marine ecosystems.
Launched in 2020, the Offshore Coalition for Energy and Nature – OCEaN – provides an open forum for discussion, where existing information and experiences are collected and assessed, needs for further research are identified, and solutions on how to improve and speed up the planning deployment of offshore wind development and grid infrastructure while preserving and restoring our European seas are jointly designed. RGI is a founding member of OCEaN and acts as the convener and moderator of the group.
RGI is actively working together with our NGO and TSO Members, partners and OCEaN Members to share knowledge, promote best practices, and discuss joint solutions. Below you can find highlights from OCEaN and RGI's offshore work, including:
RGI, with support from OCEaN Members, leads the organisation of various in-person events and webinars on topics which address how the deployment of offshore energy and grid infrastructure can align with nature protection and healthy marine ecosystems. These events bring together diverse stakeholders to jointly and openly discuss current challenges, identify knowledge gaps, and showcase solutions.
Recent events include the successful conference Speeding Up Nature Positive Offshore Energy Infrastructure Deployment with WindEurope and a Nature Inclusive Design webinar series, which features Members of OCEaN presenting their experiences applying NID solutions in Europe's seas.
RGI is active in creating publications which aim to clarify, create shared understanding, and promote solutions on key issues related to the expansion of offshore wind and grid infrastructure and marine biodiversity protection. Since the launch of OCEaN in 2020, many of these studies, reports and discussion papers were published in collaboration with OCEaN Members.
Highlights include a discussion paper clarifying essential environmental concepts for the offshore wind energy sector, a study reviewing biodiversity data and monitoring needs in the Baltic Sea and North Sea, and a report reviewing key environmental issues associated with subsea cable deployment.
Finding synergies between initiatives tackling the reconciliation of energy and nature is one of the main tasks of RGI. The work that we carry out together with OCEaN Members is of great interest for policymakers and various audiences as it offers a unique multi-stakeholder perspective on offshore developments.
RGI and OCEaN Members have therefore published a range of statements and recommendations to inspire action from EU policymakers on topics such as better Maritime Spatial Planning and the design of offshore wind auctioning. In 2022 and 2023, OCEaN released a joint Statement on an Improved, Robust and Timely MSP Process, 10 recommendations on how to improve MSP to reach EU climate, energy and biodiversity targets and a Statement on ecological criteria in offshore wind farm auctions.
The OCEaN Energy & Nature Database is a public database promoting positive offshore measures. These include pilot, research and good practice projects implemented by renewable energy developers (predominantly in offshore wind), NGOs and/or research institutions active in the marine environment for the benefit of nature, clean energy and people. The collection of offshore measures serves the general public, renewable energy developers and policymakers by providing concise information on each measure implemented in European seas and elsewhere. The aim is to encourage the replication of similar actions around the globe.
Learn more in a series of video interviews where we hear from the practitioners putting these measures into action!
The Marine Grid Declaration sets a precedent for environmentally-sound and inclusive decision-making in offshore grid development. It establishes an agreed framework of principles which will guide the signatories in their efforts to avoid, minimise and where possible eliminate negative impacts on the marine environment. It also supports early stakeholder engagement and effective planning and decision-making processes.
22 RGI Members, alongside additional environmental NGOs and wind industry stakeholders, signed the Declaration in 2019 and committed to its principles to support the smooth deployment of the offshore grid infrastructure needed to integrate a growing amount of renewables and meet Europe’s climate and energy targets.