New EU funding available for the growing wind power industry

» By | Published 17 Dec 2013 |

Interest in the ambitious EU research programme Horizon 2020, which begins in January and is open to different aspects of the wind power sector, continued to build last week in Brussels during a seminar organised by EWEA.

The seminar for EWEA members was held after the European Commission presented calls for projects under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s €80 billion research and innovation program. Worth more than €15 billion over the first two years, the funding is intended to help boost Europe’s knowledge-driven economy, and tackle issues that will make a difference in people’s lives.

Vilma Radvilaite, EWEA’s EU Budget and Research Advisor, said about 50 people attended the seminar which canvassed, among other things, new funding opportunities for research and development in the wind power industry.

Radvilaite said in an interview that Commission representatives explained in detail the possibilities for wind energy sector to apply for EU funding under the renewable electricity call, marine and maritime, grids, and storage.

In addition, she said, attendees learned about application procedures, financing rules, and the differences between the previous EU research programme FP7 and Horizon 2020.

Radvilaite said that the development and innovation of both onshore and offshore wind energy technology is crucial to reduce the costs of electricity, to increase the reliability of the technology and to provide to the EU a green solution to its energy challenges.

“The recently agreed Horizon 2020 program offers a budget of about €5.9 billion for non-nuclear energy projects in the next seven years,” she said. “It will be a key EU program providing financial support to wind energy technology development by 2020.”

Radvilaite added that public support for research and innovation activities will be critical in the future as wind energy is strategically important to helping the EU achieve 2020 climate goals and transform its energy market by mid-century.

The presentations will soon be available to EWEA members


2030 renewables target: Germany gets on board

» By | Published 10 Dec 2013 |

EU _550x300The issue of 2030 renewable energy and climate targets – will we have them? How many? – has been gathering momentum in the press and media lately. The upcoming proposal from the European Commission – due out on 22 January – will be discussed by Heads of State in March or June, who will then give the European Commission the mandate to prepare the legislation, possibly including certain targets.

EWEA has been calling for three targets for 2030 – for renewables, greenhouse gas emission reductions and energy efficiency – in order to give investors confidence and help the wind energy sector continue to grow, providing jobs and technology leadership, and reduce costs. Industry has also lent its support, with eight major European players co-signing a 2030 statement in November.

So one of the crucial questions in the discussion is which Member States are on board? Official supporters of a renewable energy target include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and Portugal. They have now been joined by Germany, whose new government has now finalised its agreement on the subject.

“It is great that Germany has recognised the importance of a 2030 renewable energy target and what it can do in driving employment and growth,” commented EWEA’s Stephane Bourgeois. “It is now essential that Germany puts all its weight behind a measure that would give a massive boost to industry and the economy.”

For more information see EWEA’s 2030 webpage:


British public wants wind energy – but government has different plans

» By | Published 07 Aug 2013 |

Off2An overwhelming majority of the public in the UK approve of the government providing financial support for renewable energy technologies, according to a new survey. The YouGov poll for the Sunday Times found support from across the political spectrum, with Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP voters all agreeing that the government should continue investing in low-carbon technologies.

The survey found 65% of respondents in favour of government spending money for wind power, while 76% said the same for tidal energy and 78% backed financial support for solar. In comparison, only 49% approved of public financial support for nuclear, 57% for clean coal and just 40% said the government should provide support for shale gas. 47% of respondents considered shale gas projects as damaging to the environment.

Despite this, Chancellor George Osborne recently revealed tax breaks for the fracking industry, with a 30% tax rate for onshore shale gas production, much lower than oil taxes. Osborne called his new tax regime “the most generous for shale in the world”.

continue reading »


New energy policy from European Investment Bank welcomed

» By | Published 29 Jul 2013 |

smoke stacksAfter a meeting last week in Luxembourg, the board of the European Investment Bank (EIB) changed its energy lending policy. The EU’s main lending arm said it would stop financing most coal-fired power stations to help reduce pollution and meet climate targets, and devote 90% of its lending to clean energy.

In a press release, the EIB says it ‘will focus on financing energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy networks, as well as related research and innovation. These sectors are expected to require the most significant investment in coming years’.

According to the Guardian the EIB has loaned around €11bn ($14.5bn) to fossil fuel-fired plants since 2007, most of it to gas rather than coal, out of its total lending for power of €83bn.

continue reading »


France has a pivotal role to play on 2030 targets

» By | Published 18 Jul 2013 |

Philippe Martin is an important man. As France’s new environment minister, he occupies a key post in a government that will be pivotal in determining the EU’s post-2020 climate and energy policy.

While no official position will be presented before the elections, there are little doubts that Germany will come out in favour a binding 2030 renewable energy target – which is critical for investor confidence in the wind energy sector – but the UK is officially against. France currently supports such a target but only at a later stage, after a greenhouse gas reduction target is in place.

The French government needs to realise the importance of setting three targets – for renewables, greenhouse gas reduction and energy efficiency – simultaneously, so that they can work together and mutually reinforce each other. Additionally, an ambitious three target package would highlight the EU’s leadership at the 2015 UN climate change meeting in Paris.

continue reading »