With its staunch commitment to wind energy and calls for an ambitious 2030 renewables target, Portugal represented an ideal European location for EWEA to host its annual press trip in 2014.
We invited journalists from across Europe to showcase the country’s renewables industry and push home the case for wind energy in member states.
EWEA, in partnership with our leading members and the Portuguese national association, planned and coordinated a bespoke and exclusive schedule, giving the nine participating reporters a unique and varied insight into Portugal’s drive for wind energy.
Highlights of the trip included a dinner, speech and Q&A with Portugal’s Energy and Environment Minister Jorge Moreira Da Silva; a visit to an EDPR control centre in the heart of Porto; presentations and a tour of an Enercon rotor blade factor in northern Portugal; a dinner and speech from APREN President Antonio Sa Da Costa and, finally, a boat trip to visit Principle Power’s offshore floating wind turbine in the Atlantic Ocean.
Throughout the two-day event, journalists enjoyed in-depth and informative discussions with representatives from EWEA’s lead sponsors to ensure they received the full picture of Portugal’s burgeoning renewables industry.
This resulted in significant, and above all positive, coverage of Europe’s wind industry in the international press in Demark, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Italy and Poland.
To date, twenty articles have been published.
EU officials, parliamentarians, high level wind industry professionals, as well as many representatives of renewable energies in Europe lent a buzz to the EU quarter last week at the EWEA summer reception. Europe’s energy movers and shakers congregated at 80 rue d’Arlon to discuss the continent’s energy future over a cocktail, fine cuisine and lively music.
Philippe Lamberts MEP, the newly elected co-chairman of the Greens group in the European Parliament, opened the event with a moving speech on Europe’s future. Many Europeans see changing energy has something that we’ll tackle once the economic crisis is over, but an energy revolution now is necessary for the climate and a necessary strategy for energy independence, he stated.
Lamberts said that today we are part of a continent that is looking backwards and not forwards towards finding the solutions that will lead to a sustainable future. The economic crisis has increased distrust; Europe is a continent that is “afraid of itself,” he said, adding that the ambitious climate and energy package agreed by EU leaders in 2007 would not have got a majority in today’s European Council and Parliament.
We must recognise that “every cent we put in yesterday’s industry we cannot put towards tomorrow’s industry, an industry that is already delivering results today,” he said.
EWEA President Andrew Garrad said that at a time when we are all concerned about security of energy supply, in wind power we have a good answer: “European wind blowing over European land, creating European electricity and European jobs in an industry based in the EU in which the EU is a world leader – that’s why we want an EU target of 30% renewable energy by 2030,” he said.
EWEA organises a number of successful high level networking events and political debates on topics relating to energy and climate change. Find out about the organisation’s lively debate on subsidies to the energy sector, and future events.
Thomas Becker would buy subscriptions to two more daily newspapers, Lasma Livzeniece would donate to animal shelters in Latvia, and Jason Bickley would treat himself to a slice of lemon meringue pie – what would you do if you knew you had €2 extra a day to spend?
Where does this €2 a day – or €730 a year – per European come from? It’s the amount each of us spends on importing fossil fuels into our energy-dependent continent. This money could be better spent!
In the context of Global Wind Day – the day for discovering the power of wind on 15 June – EWEA has launched a campaign “my 2 Euros” asking YOU what you’d rather do with the money governments spend on importing dirty fossil fuels.
Join our campaign to reduce energy dependence by using Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to tell us what YOU would rather do with €2 a day* – or €730 a year! - using the hashtags #my2euros and #GlobalWindDay. Your answers will appear on the campaign page www.globalwindday.org/my2euros. The person who gives us the most creative response will be offered the chance to be interviewed for this blog.
Wind is all around us – wind energy does not have to be imported, it is part of the solution to energy dependency!
From an art exhibition in a wind turbine in Estonia to wind energy seminars in Tehran, Global Wind Day 2014 will see many different events themed around the discovery of wind power around the world. Find out more: www.globalwindday.org
The US is arguably still the most powerful country in the world, but it has always dragged its feet on climate action.
So when the US Environmental Protection Agency announces carbon emissions cuts of 30% in the power sector by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels), the news deserves the term “historic”.
It is the first time any other US president has regulated carbon pollution from power plants. President Obama had previously tried to push climate regulation through Congress but it had been rejected, so this time he used his executive powers to bypass Congress altogether.
This is not just about disappearing polar bears and melting ice caps,” Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy said. “This is about protecting our health and protecting our homes. This is about protecting local economies and this is about protecting jobs.”
The 30% national target will be divided into individual targets for each state, and the new rules will come into force by 2020 at the latest.
It’s been a good week for the climate so far: the day after the US announcement China – which has the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world – also made an historic announcement, saying that it would cap its total emissions by the end of this decade. The exact figure has not yet been specified.
It remains to be seen what impact these decisions will have on the UN climate negotiations which kick off this week in Bonn: EWEA will be attending the negotiations and following them closely.
Last week more than 50 unions representing millions of jobs worldwide joined the Unions4Climate action network calling for a global agreement on climate change in Paris at the UN climate summit next year.
“Threats to jobs and livelihoods include the threat of climate change. For unions it is simple. There are no jobs on a dead planet,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.
The launch of the network coincides with alarming news from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) that greenhouse gases reached unprecedentedly high levels of concentration in the northern hemisphere in April. CO2 concentration levels surpassed 400 parts per million during the whole of the month.
“We watched governments fail the planet and their people in Copenhagen [at the UN climate summit in 2009] and the same corporate interests want to see failure in Paris,” Burrow added. Unions4climate action wants to see ambitious climate commitments from governments, saying a strong agreement would ensure green jobs. In Germany up to 400,000 new renewable energy jobs have been created in just two years, the ITUC said.
Burrow’s view chimes strongly with that of the European Wind Energy Association – wind power is already reducing carbon emissions and, as a mature energy technology, has the potential to make massive carbon cuts in the power sector as well as creating thousands of sustainable jobs.
The EWEA Annual Event 2015 is set to take place in Paris just before the UN climate summit. In addition to job creation, the event is set to be a platform for the industry to show the world’s decision makers its contribution to climate action, among the technology’s other benefits – each wind-produced kilowatt hour of electricity avoids a kWh of electricity created by power stations burning coal, gas and oil – an average of 696gCO2/kWh.
By 2020 wind power could avoid the emission of 316 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent to around three quarters of today’s EU car fleet’s emissions.
EWEA 2015 runs from 17 – 20 November 2015.