Europe- winner of the future energy game?
For the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) it is becoming urgent to address the root of the energy challenge and choose a direction for the next decades: either we continue on the road we are on way and Europe will import a growing energy share at unpredictable prices, from unstable regions, with huge environmental costs; or we change direction and Europe bases its economic future on known and predictable energy cost, coming from indigenous energy sources, free of all security, political, economic and environmental constraints.
Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive of EWEA, raised this key issue at a public hearing the Socialist Group of the European Parliament held today on ‘Towards a common European Energy Policy’. Europe is indeed at a crossroads: within the next few years, Member States will have to invest in new energy capacity to replace ageing plant and meet future power demand. The capacity required will exceed the total capacity operating in Europe today.
In this context, EWEA believes that Europe should use the opportunity of the large turnover in electricity generating capacity to secure a truly indigenous and clean energy supply, based on renewable sources of energy. “Combined with ambitious efficiency measures and biofuels, renewables are the only way for Europe to turn the looming energy and climate crisis into an opportunity and a benefit to the welfare of our citizens”, said Christian Kjaer to Members of Parliament.
“The future energy game will be won by those who will develop and export technology that can convert our natural resources into energy – not by the regions of the world controlling the depleting resources”, EWEA CEO added.
While Energy Ministers are also debating on energy efficiency and security of supply in the framework of the Energy Council, EWEA took the opportunity to remind MEPs about its main suggestions to face current and urgent energy challenges:
- Include in the Green Paper a visionary strategy combining renewable energy sources with energy efficiency measures;
- Fix ambitious and mandatory targets for renewables which go beyond 2010;
- Set up a European energy regulator – as proposed in the Green paper;
- Develop an Offshore Action Plan for wind.
These are the main objectives Europe should reach if we are ever to achieve competitive electricity markets, larger degree of energy independency, lower and predictable costs together with reduced environmental impacts.
It will be a challenge to shift our energy supply towards 100% renewables, but compared to the risks and costs of basing our future energy supply on the current structure, the challenge is insignificant.