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News announcement19 November 2020Directorate-General for Environment2 min read

Commission issues guidance on reconciling wind energy developments and nature

The contribution of wind energy will be central to achieve the EU climate neutrality goal by 2050, but it should not have a negative impact on nature. To this end, the European Commission published today its updated guidance on wind energy developments and EU nature legislation.

It provides information and best practice that will help Member State’s competent authorities, developers, consultants and the wind energy industry to ensure that wind energy developments, onshore and offshore, comply with the provisions of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. The guidance complements the EU Offshore Renewable Strategy published today, which aims at accelerating the development of offshore renewable energy and exploiting its vast potential.

EU Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans Virginijus Sinkevičius said:

The European Green Deal aims to tackle the dual challenge of climate change and biodiversity loss, with solutions that work on many different fronts. Today’s guidance is an example of this approach. It offers practical advice on how to ensure that wind energy developments are implemented without posing a threat to protected species and habitats and the Natura 2000 network of protected areas in line with the goals of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. Like this we are helping to ensure that EU nature laws deliver for nature, people, climate and the economy.

The guidance is part of the broader set of guidance documents published by the European Commission to facilitate the implementation of the EU nature laws. Its main aim is to reflect the latest developments in EU policies and legislation on renewable energy and nature protection, as well as the developments in wind energy technology since the initial publication of the guidance in 2011. It gathers the latest information on the possible impacts of wind energy activities on biodiversity and the available mitigation practices to address them. The document covers the whole life cycle of wind energy developments, both on land and at sea, and explains the necessary steps to ensure that the activities related to wind energy are compatible with EU environmental policy in general and EU nature legislation in particular. 



As part of its ambition to tackle climate and environment-related challenges, the European Green Deal sets out a clear vision on how to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and how to further decarbonise the energy system in order to reach climate objectives in 2030 and 2050. It highlights the essential role of renewable energy sources, in particular of offshore wind energy production, in achieving these objectives.

The European Green Deal also aims to protect, conserve and enhance the EU's natural capital by preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity. To that end, in May 2020, the European Commission adopted a communication on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 which aims to put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030 for the benefit of people, the climate, the planet and our economy.


Publication date
19 November 2020
Directorate-General for Environment

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