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New coalition of NGOs and businesses for sustainable offshore energy developments in the Mediterranean

WWF’s Mediterranean Marine Initiative is a Member of the newly launched Mediterranean Offshore Coalition for Energy and Nature (Med OCEaN).

The coalition brings together Mediterranean NGOs, and some of the most important offshore developers and grid operators with the objective to improve cooperation towards the sustainable development of the offshore wind industry in the Mediterranean Region.

Mauro Randone, Regional Manager on Sustainable Blue Economy at WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative: 

“Increasing offshore renewable energy in the Mediterranean is essential for achieving climate neutrality, however this must be done while protecting marine and coastal ecosystems and avoiding impacts on coastal communities. Med OCEaN provides a great opportunity to have regional conservation and offshore renewable energy actors collaborating to address these issues jointly.”

Offshore renewables are expected to grow in the next few years and contribute to potentially over 70GW by 2050 at EU level. While they are expected to grow in the next few years and according to the EU, they could contribute to potentially over 70GW by 2050 at Mediterranean level. While they have smaller ecological footprints and significantly lower impacts on nature in terms of pollution, carbon emissions and mineral needs than fossil fuels. However, all energy sources come with a cost for nature. We must, therefore, choose energy sources, materials, siting, and mitigation-, restoration- and biodiversity measures, that both minimize the impact to and ensure benefits for nature. 

Furthermore, as the world deploys more offshore renewable energy projects, it is key to ensure that local communities that might be affected by these activities are involved and that their needs are taken into account in the planning process. 

Within the offshore renewables sector, there is currently no consistent, science-based and credible approach for companies to contribute to nature-positive impacts, particularly regarding nature restoration and regeneration efforts, nor is there consensus on definitions, baselines, metrics and regulatory frameworks for offshore development projects. Efforts are now underway, however, to better define these principles and frameworks, including through the consistent application of a conservation and mitigation hierarchy. These are some of the topics that Med OCEaN will address.

For WWF, this means also preventing the deployment of  offshore renewables in current or planned marine protected and conserved areas and other areas of particular importance for biodiversity, ecosystems and services. These include ecological corridors, migration routes of marine species and birds, fish spawning and rearing areas, as well as areas with high natural carbon uptake and storage, such as seagrasses, saltmarshes, and other areas critical for coastal protection and resilience. 

WWF also advocates for the implementation of Ecosystem Based and Inclusive Maritime Spatial Planning, which represents the most important tool to identify acceleration areas for offshore wind development while ensuring the protection of nature and the avoidance of impacts to coastal communities.
WWF is member of the Mediterranean Offshore Coalition for Energy and Nature (Med OCEaN)
© Med OCEaN
WWF is member of the Mediterranean Offshore Coalition for Energy and Nature (Med OCEaN)