SEANERGY 2020 Offshore Energy for the EU – Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) for Renewable Energy and Electricity Grid Infrastructure within the Framework of an Integrated EU Marine Policy


The multitude of different activities and resources within the European marine area provide significant economic and social benefits for citizens not only in Europe but around the world. Renewable energy sources at sea – in particular wind, but also waves and tides – are relatively new technologies. They will play a decisive role in the implementation of the EU’s Renewable Energy Development Goals by 2020. Offshore wind energy is a key factor here.

As a new technology, offshore wind energy is competing for maritime space with the traditional uses as well as other new developments. Many other marine activities such as shipping, cable and pipeline laying and coastal tourism as well as efforts to achieve environmental compatibility and environmental protection will also increase considerably in the coming years. In view of these expected developments and challenges at sea, effective, efficient and coordinated management of the maritime area becomes a crucial task, not only nationally, but also transnationally.

Project goals and measures:

The main objective of the Seanergy 2020 project was to promote the development of renewable energy at sea, i.e. wind, wave and tidal forces, with the help of marine spatial planning (MSP). Within the framework of Seanergy 2020, recommendations were developed and disseminated to policy makers with the aim of optimally identifying and overcoming barriers to MSP for the generation of renewable energy at sea.

The main focus of Seanergy 2020 was on three main working packages or phases, starting with an analysis of existing national MSP procedures and their impact on the use of renewable energy at sea as well as the identification of best practices. Then, various international MSP instruments and their compatibility with the use of renewable energy at sea were analysed. Finally, an analysis of the challenges and opportunities arising from the transition to a cross-border MSP approach was conducted. In this third phase, results and recommendations were compiled and summary project recommendations were formulated.

The following key project recommendations were elaborated:

  • A focus on cross-border cooperation would be the most appropriate for EU-level regulation related to MSP. This would be much better than the member states imposing concepts for national implementations by decree.
  • National MSP is a prerequisite for successful transnational cooperation in the planning of maritime spaces and should therefore be promoted.
  • Ideally, the EU should develop an MSP directive focussing on the following two aspects:
    • Calling on member states to implement national MSP legislation with an agreed period, the form and content of which should be determined by each member state.
    • Promotion of cross-border cooperation and coordination in the area of MSP and maritime development.

Project partners:

German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, Klaipeda University, LNEG, ECN, CRES, 3E, University of Birmingham

Project period of support:

The project ran from May 2010 to June 2012 and was funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Program.


Visit the SEANERGY 2020 Website