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EU to Implement Cybersecurity and Offshore Wind Infrastructure Surveillance Measures

After energy ministers of 26 EU Member States signed the European Wind Charter on 19 December, a dive into the EU Wind Power Package documents shows that, besides the new EU offshore renewable energy target and plans to streamline permitting and strengthen the supply chain, the EU will also be implementing cybersecurity measures and surveilling offshore infrastructure.

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As WindEurope explains, through the tenders, Member States will make more use of prequalification criteria in critical areas such as cybersecurity to raise the bar on which turbines can be built in Europe.

In the European Wind Power Action Plan, which together with the Communication on delivering on the EU offshore renewable energy ambitions forms the EU Wind Power Package, the European Commission states:

“The Commission will identify cybersecurity risks relevant to wind energy installations and related infrastructure, including data protection aspects, in view of assessing whether these could be exploited to damage economic security or the security of electricity supply in the EU. […] The results could support procurement processes and auction design, further policy making as well as the screening of foreign direct investments.”

This is one of the total of 15 actions set out in the action plan. The work on cybersecurity and offshore infrastructure surveillance will start at the beginning of next year with the analysis the Commission will undertake with the support of relevant expert bodies.

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In the Communication on delivering on the EU offshore renewable energy ambitions, the Commission states that it will develop cooperation on cybersecurity in the offshore domain with like-minded non-EU countries at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

According to the document, the Member States will also develop regional surveillance plans for offshore infrastructure.

“Taking into account the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the presence of Russian vessels around maritime infrastructure in the Baltic and North Seas, as well as the attacks on the Nord Stream 2 pipelines, the EU is putting more emphasis on maritime security and the resilience of critical infrastructure at sea. Ensuring effective co-existence between energy and defence infrastructure at sea will be a priority,” the Commission states in the Communication on delivering on the EU offshore renewable energy ambitions.

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EU’s offshore energy assets are now also being protected under the new EU Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) and Action Plan, which were updated in March this year to also address threats against critical maritime infrastructure.

The strategy was further revised this Autumn to include actions that will improve surveillance, protection and resilience of offshore infrastructure such as energy pipelines, data and electricity cables, wind farms, and ports. Threats in the context of the maritime security strategy include conventional, hybrid and cyber attacks. 


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