OCEaN Statement on ecological criteria in offshore wind farm auctions

OCEaN is launching a statement today encouraging all European Member States to make full use of ecological non-price criteria for the design of offshore wind farm auctions. The launch is part of a workshop at WindEurope’s Annual Event in Copenhagen, which OCEaN jointly organised with WindEurope and the Renewables Grid Initiative.
Apr 26, 2023

Auction Statement 4_compressed.pngReconciliation between renewable energy infrastructure and nature is not only possible, but also needed in order to promote a sustainable energy transition. Including non-price ecological criteria within offshore wind auctioning processes is an opportunity to develop solutions which can provide benefits for nature and the climate, which is at the core of OCEaN’s objectives. These criteria are important to incentivise better environmental performance of offshore wind projects, boost innovation, minimise impacts on nature, and contribute to the enhancement of marine ecosystems.

Offshore wind energy will play a major role in the decarbonisation of the European energy system, with ambitious 2050 targets from Member States. Including such non-price ecological criteria within auctioning processes will enable this infrastructure to be built in a sustainable manner, support nature restoration goals and help enhance biodiversity.

In support of the statement, Antonella Battaglini, CEO of RGI, believes that it is both possible and needed to align offshore wind infrastructure with nature protection, saying:

“Ecological non-price criteria in offshore wind farm auctions is a key opportunity to speed up renewable energy deployment, address the biodiversity crisis, fight climate change, and sustain European industries. Non-price ecological criteria should be applied to all auctioning, implemented transparently, and monitored against agreed standards. The collaborative work within OCEaN is instrumental in achieving this.”

Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, adds:

“The EU now wants Governments to have non-price criteria in auctions. Ecological criteria are a good thing. They reward companies for the investments they’ve already made in biodiversity protection and that they want to make. And they incentivise innovation in biodiversity protection which is good for the environment. They show renewables and biodiversity protection go hand in hand. The Netherlands has started using them and many other countries are considering doing the same. Good. This is win-win.”

Ewout van Galen, Head of Programmes, The North Sea Foundation:

“The rapid expansion of offshore wind energy takes place in a degraded North Sea ecosystem. We cannot manage nature, but we can manage human activities. It is therefore essential that nature is part and parcel of the offshore energy transition, so that there is ecological space for our national offshore energy goals and those of neighbouring countries. It is of vital importance that we set the ecological bar high, by urging all member states to make non-price criteria for biodiversity and sustainability a core part of offshore wind farm auctions. This contributes to the necessary nature restoration and helps the wind energy industry to truly become a nature positive industry by 2030.”

Read the full Press Release and Statement below!

Read the Press Release here

Statement on ecological criteria in offshore wind farm auctions