Promoting wind power and other renewables while dramatically expanding the grid system are now cornerstones of German energy policy, people attending the opening session at the Grids 2010 conference in Berlin were told today.
Jochen Homann, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology for Germany, also told conference delegates that Europe badly needs new electricity highways to efficiently meet future energy needs.
“The need to act is most pressing,” Homann said, adding European citizens need to understand why policy makers now agree that it is vitally important to update the grid system despite considerable associated challenges and costs.
Delegates attending the Grids 2010 conference in Berlin on Tuesday and Wednesday will be hearing how both the future of Europe and its need for a totally revamped electricity structure are indelibly linked.
They’ll also hear that while building a so-called supergrid for the 21st century will be expensive, the many benefits will far outweigh any costs associated with such an ambitious European project. And, in any event, our existing outdated grid requires very substantial investment.
And they’ll learn that having a properly functioning electricity market will help drive Europe’s goal of realising a new and robust green economy that can mitigate climate change, create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs and drive down power prices.
It’s a sure bet that when people descend upon Berlin next week for the grids conference that the European Wind Energy Association has organised, delegates attending the event will still be buzzing from recent timely news out of Brussels.
Those attending the two-day conference — “GRIDS 2010: the backbone of Europe’s energy future” — will almost assuredly be discussing Wednesday’s communication from the European Commission that €200 billion is needed to upgrade Europe’s gas and electricity grids over the next 10 years.
Some of the chatter around the coffee tables will also probably focus on another Commission communication — released on 10 November — which noted that the European Union is unlikely to achieve its 2020 targets without regional energy investments in the order of €1 trillion over the next decade.
With under a month to go, the competition to win a weekend in Copenhagen or the Swiss Alps as part of EWEA’s Breath of Fresh Air campaign is growing fierce. One of the strongest contenders for a prize is 26 year old Bruno Mignogna from Molise in Italy, who works at the national agency for Energy and the Environment (ENEA) in Rome. He told us why he decided to adopt a turbine and tell his friends about it.
Why do you support wind energy?
In 1998, the first wind turbines were installed close to where my grandfather lived in the region where I come from, Molise. (The turbine I adopted on www.ewea.org/freshair is one of these). Since then I started studying how wind energy works, and during my studies I saw many wind farms being put up, with turbines that got bigger and bigger!
The power of wind was invoked Sunday in one of the world’s most troubled nations when Pakistan and the US agreed on a public-private partnership to develop a 150-MW wind energy facility capable of creating enough electricity for 600,000 local homes.
“This project represents a meaningful, environmentally sound step toward addressing Pakistan’s energy crisis,” Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said in a press release.
“Partnership with the private sector will also demonstrate the potential of investing in the power sector in Pakistan.”