Where will wind energy be in 2020?

» By | Published 31 Jul 2014 |

Wind energy has sailed through stormy waters when it comes to politics in recent years. Since 2009, European governments across the continent have been chopping and changing their support schemes for renewable energies, wind power included, amid an enduring economic crisis. But what has the impact on wind energy been?

Uncertainty has impacted investment plans, new orders and investment decisions already taken in wind energy markets across Europe. But, the crisis has also affected the power sector as a whole, reducing overall demand for power. In fact the European Commission now expects power demand in 2020 to be 11% lower than it did in 2009.

Fortunately the waters are now starting to calm and the wind power sector is seeing a degree of regulatory stability return. But the storm slowed the expected installation rates of the sector, leading EWEA to revise its capacity targets for 2020.

EWEA’s new central 2020 scenario envisages 192 GW of wind energy – an increase of 64% compared to today. While this scenario is a reduction on the previous estimate of 230 GW, it will not necessarily undermine the EU’s 20% renewable energy by 2020 target. The 20% target is a consumption target, and given that power demand has fallen, the target will be met with fewer installed GWs of wind power. 192 GW of wind energy is predicted to meet 14.9% of the EU’s electricity consumption in 2020, slightly down from 15.7% previously envisaged.

Meanwhile, a considerable €124 billion in wind farm investments across the EU is expected by 2020, creating 100,000 additional jobs by 2020.

And yet, there is room for greater expectations: The EU is poised to take a decision on the proposed climate and energy package this autumn which should include a target for renewable energy by 2030. With an ambitious agreement, installations could be higher in markets including Germany, France, Italy and the UK, while markets that came to a virtual stand-still in 2013, such as Spain, could show signs of growth. Offshore, Belgium, Ireland, the UK and Germany, could also show extra growth.

Will Europe’s leaders show the ambition to agree to a strong EU climate and energy package that will propel wind energy confidently ahead? Are we are seeing a durable end to the political instability that has surrounded wind energy in recent years?




Large international gathering attends EWEA’s summer reception

» By | Published 30 Jun 2014 |

lambertsEU 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.


Donate to charity? Buy lemon pie? What would you do with €2?

» By | Published 12 Jun 2014 |

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



Millions of workers call for climate action

» By | Published 30 May 2014 |

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.


80% of Brits support renewable energy

» By | Published 12 May 2014 |

By Zoë Casey

If you are a follower of the press and politics in the UK you might be forgiven for thinking that the country is against wind energy – but a new survey proves exactly the opposite. The survey – carried out by the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in March 2014 – showed that 70% of respondents supported onshore wind energy, with 12% against it. Offshore wind energy received even greater levels of support – with 77% in favour and just 7% against.

For renewable energy sources in general, 80% of the public said they support the use of renewable energy to provide the UK’s electricity, fuel and heat. Moreover, six in ten people said they would be happy to have a large scale renewable energy development in their area. To compare, 29% of the public support the extraction of shale gas.

Meanwhile, the British are becoming more and more aware of the energy security and climate change risk facing the country. According to the DECC survey, “energy security and climate change are now ranked joint fourth in a list of the biggest challenges facing the UK today, up from eighth and ninth places respectively in March 2012.

Some elements of the UK’s political spectrum appear not to be aware of the high level of public support – many Conservatives have hinted that they will introduce a cap on the number of new wind farms if they are elected in the general election next year, despite onshore being the most affordable renewable energy technology.

“The debate in the UK has become overly negative,” said Thomas Becker, CEO of EWEA, in an interview with the BBC. “You could be having British wind turbines providing electricity for Britain and other parts of the EU. And you wouldn’t be so dependent on Mr Putin and the Middle East,” he was quoted as saying.

EWEA supports an EU-wide target of 30% renewable energy in the overall energy supply by 2030 as a strong means to increase energy security in Europe. The 30% target would build on the current legally-binding target of 20% renewable energy by 2020. EWEA statistics show that an ambitious 30% target would mean more green growth and jobs (investments of €25.3 billion and 795,000 jobs by 2030 in the wind sector), and lower dependency on fossil fuel imports and better energy security (€51 billion of avoided fuel costs in 2030).