Markets & trends


In a manifesto supporting offshore and marine renewables, 20 members of the European Parliament call for an action plan for the North Sea Offshore Grid.

The aim of the initiative is to gain political support for the North Sea Offshore Grid as a key step in building an effective Energy Union. The manifesto supports the development of renewable energy located in the North Sea, surrounding Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

The MEPs behind the initiative have called on decision-makers from the region, together with industry, social partners, and the EU Commission, to create a new highlevel political process in order to make the Northern Seas regional cooperation a showcase for the Energy Union.

The manifesto states, “The progressive, large-scale, deployment of off-shore wind farms and emerging marine renewables, along with the completion of a meshed electricity grid, should be the backbone of Northern Seas regional cooperation.” The 20 MEPs involved believe the development of stronger regional cooperation in the Northern Seas will help create local jobs and stimulate growth, reduce costs and ensure energy security, as well as establish EU technology leadership in off-shore wind and other emerging marine renewables..

World’s biggest facility to be built off Yorkshire coast

Danish utility company DONG Energy is planning to build a facility generating 1.2 gigawatts of power off the UK’s Yorkshire coast. Due for completion in 2020, Hornsea Project One may cost up to $5.7 billion, according to some estimates, and is the company’s largest-ever financial commitment. Offshore wind is the only major renewable energy source not to face cutbacks in subsidies since Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives won the election in May 2015, and London is willing to support the growth of installing turbines at sea, saying it is an area where the UK can help make a lasting technological contribution.

The UK Government awarded Hornsea Project One a 15-year contract. The initiative will be a major contributor to DONG’s target to install 6.5 gigawatts of offshore wind by the end of the decade.

Fibre, the driving force, and a call to Europe

The future of fibre continues to look bright as demand for fibre optic cable around the world increases dramatically, with few signs of slowing anytime soon, according to the most recent industry data. Penetration into the Asia Pacific region passed 100 million fibre subscribers in 2015, meaning that at least 100 million people are now on fibre.

The US is a big force in the market also, and Europe witnessed a 50% increase to 14.5 million fibre subscribers as of the end of 2014 – a good level. There is also strong growth in emerging markets, such as South America, the Middle East and North Africa region. Developments in Europe are particularly interesting because of the complexity caused by the large number of countries involved, bringing different dynamics to each market and each requiring varied solutions.

The Fiber To The Home (FTTH) Council Europe has themed its recent conference in Luxembourg as “Calling for a Brighter Future” to address these specific issues. It calls on policymakers, regulators, operators and end users to attend the conference, as it believes that the only infrastructure solution for the coming years is fibre. But Member States of the Union have to be proactive, using the Commission’s directives and regulations as an impetus for action at home. The FTTH Council Europe aims to help member states by pointing them in the right direction through active debate.

Delay for Construction Products Regulation

The launch date of the long-awaited Construction Products Regulation (CPR) has changed to 1 July 2016. The CPR therefore gives cable manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers a further six months to prepare for its provisions, which include the introduction of new testing and certification requirements and also new CE marking and labeling requirements.The launch date has been pushed back due to the European Commission requiring completion of regulatory modifications. The final mandatory date to establish CE marking of power, control and communications cables under EN 50575 will now be 1 July 2017, as there is still a 12 month transition period.