Why the EU supports wind energy research and innovation

Wind energy is the technology expected to provide the largest contribution to the EU renewable energy targets for 2020 and beyond.

The EU currently has the largest floating wind energy capacity in the world - about 70% of the total.

By end 2020, the total installed wind energy capacity could reach 210GW, equivalent to supplying 14% of electricity demand. By 2030 it could reach 350GW, supplying up to 24% of electricity demand.

Challenges and opportunities

Wind power is already competitive with other sources of electricity in a number of countries.

Offshore wind represents a significant future opportunity: resources are stable, abundant and public acceptance is higher. 

Europe is the global leader in offshore wind. This position must be maintained in a context where global players such as the USA, China, Korea and Japan have increased their support to boost their offshore industry.

However, knowledge about potential impacts of wind energy turbines on the environment and health need to be improved, given the widespread use of the technology.

Another important challenge will be to increase the circularity of wind energy technology, taking into account the end of life of turbines and the materials dependency.

What the EU is doing

EU research and innovation aims to lower costs and increase the performance and reliability of offshore wind energy technology.

The EU is also supporting floating substructures or integrated floating wind energy systems for deeper waters and use in other climate conditions. This will increase deployment possibilities and improve the European position in the global market.

Offshore wind power in Europe is currently focused in the North Sea, which has relatively shallow water. However, more attention has been paid recently in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Coast, as floating technologies become more mature.

Research and Innovation to boost the development of offshore renewable energy (Factsheet)

Funding opportunities

  • Horizon 2020 - calls

    Calls for proposal related to energy themes in Horizon 2020. On this page you can find more information, the work programme and a link to the energy related calls.

  • Horizon 2020 - access to risk finance

    Gain easier access to debt and equity financing, such as InnovFin, managed by the European Investment Bank Group and European Investment Fund

  • Connecting Europe Facility - energy

    CEF energy funds and finances energy infrastructure projects

  • NER 300 programme

    Funding for innovative low-carbon technology research with focus on environmentally safe Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy technologies

  • LIFE+ Climate Action

    Co-financing for climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation research, supporting the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy

  • European structural and investment funds (ESIF)

    Energy research related calls may be found in these funds


    EU Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) aims to make it easier for SMEs to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle

  • Prize for renewable energy islands

    Prize rewarding achievements in local renewable energy production for electricity, heating, cooling and transport on islands.

Collaboration and jobs

Projects and results

Scientific publications, tools and databases


  • Research enquiry service

    You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.  

  • National contact points

    The national contact points (NCP) network gives guidance and information on participating in Horizon 2020. NCPs are established in all EU countries and many non-EU countries.

  • Enterprise Europe Network

    The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with international ambitions. 

  • European IP Helpdesk

    Service that offers an intellectual property rights helpline, training and online library.

Related Commission departments