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A proposed European Commission directive on maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management would require European Union (EU) member states to plan the use of their sea space and work together where they share a sea basin, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) reports.

"The European Wind Energy Association strongly supports the commission's proposal, which will allow the European offshore wind energy sector to plan investments based on a mapped use of sea space, creating growth and jobs in the maritime sector," says Anne-Benedicte Genachte, EWEA’s offshore regulatory affairs adviser.

"It will also facilitate the creation of a transnational European offshore electricity grid by encouraging member states to map areas for electricity infrastructure at sea," she adds. “If planned without cross-border cooperation, grid investments risk being less effective. The offshore grid project calculated that by clustering wind farms in hubs which could cross borders - around 14 billion euros could be saved compared to connecting wind farms individually to the shore.”

However, some influential member states are already voicing opposition to the policy directive.

“We hope that governments will understand the importance of having an EU planning framework for the growth of the maritime economy, and we hope to count on parliament in order to get the directive adopted before the European elections in 2014,” Genachte notes.



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