Summary status quo of energy developments
- The energy profiles show that there is an on-going dominance of fossil fuels. Norway is largest producer of oil and gas and Germany is the largest producer of wind energy. Germany is also the largest consumer of energy.
- Growth of offshore wind in the North Sea is beginning to meet EU’s power demand (10.4%). UK is in the lead, with the largest amount of installed offshore wind capacity in Europe (40.8%).
- The ocean energy industry is actively developing and by the end of 2016, 21 tidal turbines were deployed in European waters totalling 13 MW.
- The EU MSP Directive commits countries to have marine plans in place by 2021, and calls for transnational coherence. However, differences exist, where some countries such as Denmark and Sweden have yet to adopt their first national plan, whilst others are going through plan iterations. This progress mismatch and transnational incoherence are threats to the sustainable management of the North Sea.
- Additional transnational challenges include different MSP approaches adopted between countries and differences in terminology used. National approaches do not necessarily need to be harmonised, but need to be compatible.
- With the exception of Norway and Sweden, most NSR countries have planned and designated spatial areas for offshore renewable energy and set goals to meet renewable energy targets. No zones have been opened in Norway yet, but areas have been identified and no specific target goals or spatially designated areas have been set in Sweden. The method of spatially designating areas for offshore renewable energy is considered as best practice.
- Proactive engagement in transnational consultation is limited and needs to be given higher priority and undertaken earlier in the process.