Right now the world’s climate negotiators are gathering in Durban, South Africa for COP17 – the United Nations climate change conference. It’s December 2011 – at the same time next year we will be just weeks away from the end of the ‘Kyoto Protocol’ – a global legal agreement to cut carbon emissions. When that expires the world is likely to be left without legally binding CO2 reduction targets.
Rémi Gruet, senior regulatory affairs advisor from EWEA who is at the meeting, said the situation looks bad. The best outcome the world can hope for is a roadmap outlining the steps needed to reach a global climate agreement by 2015, he said.
Despite the warnings from scientists that we must limit global temperature rises to 2°C to prevent dangerous climate change, the political will does not appear to be there. “There is a decoupling between the science and political action,” Gruet said.
Sea-based wind turbines, enhanced grids and project financing shared centre stage at the EWEA OFFSHORE 2011 event in Amsterdam this week as it became clear the industry has the potential of becoming a driving economic force for many European coastal areas.
Hosted by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), the bi-annual conference was told more than 141 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity that is built, under construction, consented, or planned in Europe is enough to power 130 million average EU households and provide 13.1% of Europe’s total electricity production.
A number of bankers, investors and developers taking part in a panel at the EWEA OFFSHORE 2011 conference in Amsterdam on Thursday agreed financing can still be arranged for expensive offshore wind farm projects despite the ongoing debt crisis.
Sean Klimczak, Managing Director in the Private Equity Group of Blackstone, said he is “relatively optimistic about the opportunities” to raise money for European offshore wind farms.
“We here at Blackstone remain committed to the offshore wind industry in Europe,” said Klimczak, whose firm raised €1.2 billion in financing for the 288-MW Meerwind project off Germany’s coast.