A study published by the European Commission focuses on the development of an offshore renewable energy system in the Irish and North Seas. It considers several possible plans for building wind farms to generate renewable energy, energy storage facilities, and an electricity grid that would extend over the territorial waters of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The study examines the impact of different grid configurations (with different levels of connection between the countries' energy networks) on the area and its marine environment, and considers how to minimise ecological harm as much as possible. It recommends that a high level of planning and coordination be deployed in the construction of an offshore renewable energy system. It also suggests that data concerned the project should be standardised and systematically stored.
The Irish and North Seas region is the focus of a High Level Group convened by the Commission, with the aim of strengthening cooperation between the countries in the region in the development of offshore energy generation. Plans are already underway to create a North Sea Wind Power Hub, an artificial island that would link offshore wind farms and transmit the energy they generate to neighbouring countries. Making even more use of the region's renewable energy potential will help meet the renewable energy targets the EU has set itself for 2020 and beyond and also enhance Europe's security of energy supply.