IEA executive director: “We welcome a renewables target for 2030”

» By | Published 10 Mar 2014 |

The International Energy Agency (IEA) supports an EU renewable energy target for 2030 – this would reduce policy risk and so “bring down costs and put us on the path we want to be on”, stated Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA today at the European Wind Energy Association’s 2014 annual event in Barcelona.

However, in the absence of national targets a governance system to ensure countries contribute is necessary, she added, also emphasising the importance of power market integration.

Continuing the discussion on the power system, Portugal’s secretary of state for energy Artur Trindade, another keynote speaker at the session, said his country at times gets up to 90% of its power from wind energy. What do you think happens? He asked the audience. The answer is “nothing!” No-one notices, nothing changes, he stated: there are high levels of wind energy regularly in the Portuguese power system without an issue.

Enercon Managing Director and EWEA 2014 conference chair Hans-Dieter Kettwig referred to the dangerous regulatory instability for renewables in the EWEA 2014 host country, Spain, and called on the Spanish government to “break down the walls in your land and in your head” and restore a stable framework.

European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) president Andrew Garrad called for renewable energy targets for 2030 and stressed the energy security wind energy brings.  “Putin cannot turn off the wind energy tap” he said. EWEA launched a new report looking at how wind energy can avoid fossil fuel imports today.

EWEA 2014 runs from 10-13 March 2014: www.ewea.org/annual2014

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EWEA 2014 opens its doors in Barcelona

» By | Published 10 Mar 2014 |

The months of anticipation are finally over – EWEA 2014 opens its doors for business in Barcelona this afternoon!

Headlining later today at the opening session will be Artur Trindade, Portuguese Secretary of State for Energy, Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency (IEA), Hasan Murat Mercan, Turkish Deputy Minister of Energy and conference chair Hans-Dieter Kettwig, Managing Director of ENERCON – all giving their insight into the issues affecting wind energy right now, and thoughts on how the sector is getting back to business.

Meanwhile the exhibition halls will open to reveal hundreds of companies and associations working in the wind energy sector from the world over. From weather forecasters to turbine parts, the whole supply chain and more will be represented.

Later on in the day, the conference programme will kick off with an indepth discussion about the upcoming UN climate change summit – why should the wind energy sector care about these high level negociations, and what can we do to make sure the power of wind energy in the fight against climate change is heard?

The first day of EWEA 2014 will end on a high – at the opening reception which will take place on the Siemens stand in the exhibition hall.

Find out how you can join the industry in Barcelona.

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Wind energy’s triumph in Spain is being ignored by the government

» By | Published 10 Mar 2014 |

Jaume Magrit APPAIn 2013 wind power was the leading source of electricity in Spain, but wind energy is facing huge regulatory hurdles – the latest of which will be discussed in detail at EWEA 2014 in Barcelona on Wednesday 12 March. We spoke to Jaume Margarit Roset, Director General of the association of renewable energies in Spain, APPA, to find out what’s been going on…

What are the main regulatory problems Spain has faced in recent years?

In January 2012 the newly-elected government introduced a moratorium on all new wind power installations in Spain and since then only the projects that were already underway have been completed.

Then a new regulation came into force which implies that all wind farms in Spain built before 2005 will not receive tariffs. This makes it very difficult for financing – your income estimates will change because of this. Some companies could fail.

The regulation works against investor confidence. When there is a framework that ensures good conditions, investments happen. When this is changed by the government, investors don’t know what is happening. The government has demonstrated that it doesn’t trust wind; that it is working in another direction. It plans to promote fossil fuels.

Why does the government not trust wind? continue reading »

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Ninety percent of Europeans want 2030 renewable energy target, EC poll shows

» By | Published 06 Mar 2014 |

Ninety percent of Europeans say their governments must set targets to increase the amount of renewables in the energy mix by 2030, according to a survey by Eurobarometer – the European Commission’s polling service.

In a special report gauging public opinion on climate change, the European Commission [EC] found that nine in ten Europeans are backing an increase in renewable energy targets.

While the poll did not ask whether a rise in the targets must also be legally binding at national level, it indicates that European citizens are in favour of pushing ahead on renewable technologies.

It comes at a time when policymakers in Brussels attempt to thrash out a new climate and energy package for 2030. In January, the European Commission proposed a flaccid RES target of 27%, a mere 7 percentage point hike on the current 2020 target, and not enforceable on each member state.

EWEA is calling for a binding target of no less than 30%, which would encourage investment and create 568,000 more jobs in Europe.

Fossil fuel imports

Eurobarometer’s poll also showed that 70% of Europeans believe that reducing fossil fuel imports would spur economic growth among the EU’s 28 member states at a time when many nations, particularly in southern Europe, are implementing harsh austerity measures.

EWEA Chief Executive Officer Thomas Becker said on 5 March: “Let us invest in wind and renewables – European energy sources which do not have to be imported, which will not run out, in industries in which Europe leads the world. Renewable energy is already providing well over 20% of our electricity and can do far more.”

In a report by The European Wind Energy Association [EWEA] called ‘Avoiding Fossil Fuel Costs with Wind Energy’, data from the EC shows that Europe spent €545 billion on fossil fuel imports in 2012 — that’s around three times more than the Greek bailout up to 2013.

The full report will be released on 10 March at the opening of EWEA’s Annual Event in Barcelona.

More information: www.ewea.org/annual2014

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Wind turbines produce high energy outputs for 25 years, study finds

» By | Published 05 Mar 2014 |

Wind turbines are proving they can operate effectively for 25 years. That means a single wind turbine has a lifespan similar to that of solar panels and gas turbines, and nearly one-third that of human beings.

An Imperial College Business school study found that Britain’s oldest onshore turbines generate 75% of their original output after 19 years of operation. The study projected the turbines to remain effective through 25 years.

This is despite noisy claims from some quarters that wind turbines are only effective for a decade.

Sceptics have also been concerned about the greenhouse gas emissions created as a result of required maintenance on turbines over their long lifespans, but a different study showed that wind energy still minimises greenhouse gas emissions more than nearly all other energy sources.

“The new research from Imperial College London brings solid evidence that wind farms meet technical feasibility and economic viability requirements throughout their lifespan,” said EWEA’s Angeliki Koulouri.

The study should instill faith in concerned wind energy investors, said Richard Green, co-author and heat of the Department of Management at Imperial College Business School. He was quoted, “This study gives a ‘thumbs up’ to the technology and shows that renewable energy is an asset for the long term.”

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