Europe’s ageing power plants need replacing. It makes economic sense to replace a growing proportion of those conventional power plants with wind energy.
This is because wind energy does the following:
- Creates jobs and economic growth in Europe. 238,000 people worked in EU wind energy in 2010.
- Reduces the cost of importing fossil fuels. Wind energy avoided €5.71 billion of fuel costs in 2010.
- Reduces the risks of Europe being dependent on other countries for its energy.
- Costs no more – and soon less – than conventional power sources. Today, production cost of a wind farm on land is broadly cost competitive with building a new coal or gas power station and the electricity costs are half of those from a new nuclear power plant. And that is in a situation in which some of the environmental and health costs of extracting and burning fossil fuels are not covered by power producers and therefore not included in the price of energy.
- Reduces the risk associated with rising fossil fuel prices.
These are five reasons why it makes economic sense for EU national Governments to achieve the legal requirement they made to get 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.
But Governments are making it unnecessarily difficult and expensive to achieve that legal obligation.
How? Through political campaign rhetoric that agonise financiers into raising the cost of capital, and by introducing retroactive changes to wind energy policies for those that have invested on the basis of the regulations in place when the investments were made.
That is why the European wind industry – through the European Wind Energy Association – is publishing an unparalleled statement warning against the “wave of uncertainty” sweeping across Europe.
The statement warns that “This political uncertainty is deterring financiers and investors and has already caused job losses and negative financial result announcements.”
We conclude that “By deterring wind energy investment, Governments are throwing away opportunities to create jobs and growth in Europe, improve security of energy supply, cut the cost of fossil fuel imports, reduce pollution and tackle climate change.”
Ignore the warning at Europe’s peril.