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Recommendations for Adaptation and Development of Existing and Potentially New International MSP Instruments


Recommendations for Adaptation and Development of Existing and Potentially New International MSP Instruments. Recommendation for an offshore grid infrastructure and cable routing for a pan-European grid at sea, for which a strategic planning at international level is necessary.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What national and international MSP instruments need to be adapted and/or implemented to foster the deployment of offshore renewable energies (ORE)?
  • What can different institutions do to foster the deployment of offshore renewable energies (ORE)?

Implementation Context

A high level of cooperation between Member States is crucial for a fast and optimal deployment of offshore renewable energies and related grid infrastructure. Some international Maritime Spatial Planning instruments have been developed in the last years but they do not necessarily take into consideration the specific features of offshore renewable energies.

Aspects / Objectives

Facilitate the co-ordinated development of offshore renewable energy sources, through enhanced cooperation between Member States.


The method consists of three steps:

  1. Analysing the different existing national zoning plans of the 17 Members States covered by the SEANERGY2020 project compared to existing International MSP instruments, in order to highlight eventual inconsistencies and to qualify the effect of International MSP instruments on the deployment of offshore renewable energies (ORE).
  2. Focus on the offshore grid infrastructure and cable routing for a pan- European grid at sea, for which a strategic planning at international level is necessary.
  3. Develop recommendations for the further development on MSP on international, regional and European level.

Main Outputs / Results

The report provides an extensive summary and multiple recommendations. Some of these recommendations are:

  • For the accelerated development of offshore renewables in Europe it is recommended to treat EU level MSP as priority as it is already an ambitious task to achieve a coherent MSP framework within the EU. International MSP development could be initiated based on best practice EU examples.
  • International MSP could set a series of sectoral guidelines and standards constituting best practices for spatial planning related to ORE (offshore renewable energies)
  • International MSP should consist of international guidelines laying down a series of spatial planning criteria that are taken into account when screening maritime zones for possible ORE development sites.
  • The establishment of international MSP should be prepared by an overarching cross sector institution such as the Office of Legal Affairs of UN’s Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.
  • International MSP guidelines related to ORE development should be submitted and approved by the international organisations having supranational regulatory power in their respective sectors:
  • Making bi- or multilateral consultation on maritime activities entailing a possible cross border social, economic or environmental impact mandatory is likely to contribute to the approval of wind farms close to or across borders.
  • In order to balance the fundamental freedom of submarine cable laying on the one hand and the interests of coastal states on the other hand, it is recommended to facilitate cross border submarine cable projects by developing international standards and guidelines for the laying of offshore submarine cables.
  • The ICPC is recommended as the most appropriate international organisation for developing a set of international standards and guidelines related to submarine cable laying
  • The European Union should further play an active role in the development of an international submarine cable code
  • Relocation of shipping lanes in order to enable the construction and operation of offshore renewable energies can be challenging and requires an appropriate analysis
  • The opportunity to create an ORE zone within the high seas area, for instance, in the Mediterranean, should be explored. Increased co-operation with non-EU Mediterranean partners should be tested in the field of ORE.
  • Joint development zones should be built on these existing international practices of joint development zones in the context of ORE development
  • National governments long-term goals should be established, e.g. in line with the recently published European 2050 roadmap, to clearly show the need to discuss maritime spatial conflicts.
  • European Guidelines, preferably based on best-practice examples for cross-border approvals, can significantly facilitate and accelerate approval processes.


Most recommendations are pan-European and therefore relate to all Member States. The findings and recommendations are transferrable and could bet taken into account to strengthen MSP oordinated ORE developments.

Costs / Funding Source

Intelligent Energy Europe

Responsible Entity

European Wind Energy Association

Contact Person

Dorina Iuga

European Wind Energy Association

Email: (di[at]ewea[dot]org)

Tel: +32 (0) 2 213 18 09