Ladies and gentlemen, and thank you all for joining us for the EU Energy Day!

I am delighted to welcome you to this session co-organised with our good friends and partners at the International Renewable Energy Agency. Tackling climate and environmental challenges is an urgent global need. In Europe, with our Green Deal, we are putting sustainability and green transition at the heart of our economic development and competitiveness.

By 2050, our climate-neutral energy system will have to largely rely on renewable sources. But to meet the ‘at least 55%’ greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030, the share of renewables has to be ramped up much sooner.

This is of course not only the case in Europe. IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook shows clearly that any realistic global path to a net-zero world has to be grounded in renewables.

But as Francesco La Camera is himself here today, I will focus my remarks mostly on the European journey.

This July, we published a number of ambitious legislative proposals to make sure that we hit the big milestones we have set ourselves. With the revised renewable energy directive, we proposed to upgrade the EU renewables target from 32% to at least 40% by 2030.

The EU – with its five sea basins, outermost regions and overseas territories – has massive potential for offshore renewable energy, especially offshore wind.

To take full advantage of this potential, the European Commission published a year ago a dedicated EU strategy on offshore renewable energy.

The Offshore Strategy steers our course in this area with ambitious 2050 targets: by then, we will need to reach 300 GW of offshore wind capacity and 40 GW of ocean renewables such as wave, tidal and floating solar.

Ramping up off-shore energy is a no-brainer from the climate point of view, but it also brings other benefits. The EU is a global leader in this area, with the biggest turbine companies based here and the largest share of ocean energy patents held by European businesses.

Rapid growth in the sector would give a boost to our economies and create “green”, high-quality jobs. This is always an important consideration, but especially so as we are entering the post-pandemic recovery.

In fact, we expect jobs in offshore renewables to triple in the EU by 2030. That is from around 62,000 people working today in the offshore wind industry and around 2,500 in the ocean energy sector.

For the offshore revolution to materialise, we of course need ambition and investment, but there are also some more practical considerations.

First, we need adequate grids both on and offshore. The planning of the offshore grid goes beyond national borders and has to take into account the whole sea basin. In this view, the revision of the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) Regulation allows us to have a necessary framework for cross-border infrastructure.

Second, we have to streamline the permitting process, which has become a serious bottleneck for getting offshore projects off the ground. According to the EU rules, permits should be given out in two years, while in reality it can take six or seven.

Both in our TEN-E and Renewable Energy Directive proposals, we have concrete provisions to improve this situation. We’ll also publish a guidance and best practice document next year, to support progress in this area.

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There is another key piece of the energy transition puzzle that is often mentioned in the same breath with offshore energy – it’s renewable hydrogen. And for good reason.

Offshore wind is the ideal energy source for producing green hydrogen in electrolysers, as it can provide big-scale, high capacity renewable power.

Industrial sites near ports are often big consumers of hydrogen, so there is an immediate synergy as well. Electrolysers could be built at the ports to produce green hydrogen from offshore wind, and thus provide green electricity as well as green hydrogen to the industrial activities near the ports.

In the EU, we have made renewable hydrogen our clear priority. While energy efficiency and electrification should be the basis of our future energy system, we will need hydrogen to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors.

This is why, in our hydrogen strategy, we have put in place ambitious targets for renewable hydrogen production capacity in the coming years: 6GW of electrolysers by 2024 and 40GW by 2030. By then, if not sooner, we expect the price of green hydrogen to be competitive with fossil-based hydrogen.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU domestic focus on offshore renewables and green hydrogen is abundantly clear, but we are equally clear on the need to take advantage of both these technologies globally. And we are cooperating with strategic partners worldwide to make this happen.

Both technologies are priority areas of cooperation under the EU-US Energy Council and the new Transatlantic Green Technology Alliance.

On offshore wind, we are planning a Business-to-Business event in the margins of the next Ministerial meeting of the EU-U.S. Energy Council. Regarding clean hydrogen, we are discussing concrete initiatives to develop an open and resilient global hydrogen market.

North African countries, thanks to the abundance of renewable sources (both sun and wind) are ideally placed to produce renewable hydrogen and its derivatives. These can be used both for local consumption and export, in particular towards Europe.

The EU Hydrogen Strategy explicitly identifies North Africa as a potential strategic partner in this sector.

There are many other parts of the world currently looking into offshore renewables and green hydrogen. Europe can share our experiences and learnings to speed up the process.

The EU has supported India in assessing the feasibility of an offshore wind energy sector in the country. Now, EU businesses and investors are looking forward to actively respond to a first call for tender for deploying offshore wind in India.

In Japan and Taiwan, EU companies are active in submitting bids in response to calls for tenders for deploying offshore wind energy. Their participation is crucial to make offshore wind as cost-effective and technologically advanced as possible.

The objective of the EU is to rapidly scale up both offshore renewable energy and green hydrogen in the EU and, together with our international partners, globally.

We already have extensive experience with offshore wind, which has led to a significant fall in costs and bid price for offshore wind energy projects. This will be also important for the development of a healthy green hydrogen production and market.

We stand ready to support ambitious countries that recognise opportunities and benefits these two technologies bring – less emissions, cleaner environment, new jobs and faster growth.

Thank you.