European Wind Industry calls for swift and effective legislation
"With over 5,000 participants, the 2007 European Wind Energy Conference (EWEC) reflected the enormous potential of wind power and addressed the challenges ahead for large-scale, European-wide deployment of the technology", said Arthouros Zervos at the closing session of EWEC 2007 organised by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Milan this week. Over four days, wind energy professionals analysed and debated the steps required in order to meet a large part of European electricity needs with wind power.
There is little doubt that wind energy will make a substantial contribution to achieving the European Council’s recently adopted target of 20% of EU energy consumption coming from renewables by 2020. According to EWEA, installed wind energy capacity in Europe could reach 180 GW by 2020, enough to cover between 13% and 16% of EU electricity consumption.
For that to happen, the target agreed by EU heads of States needs to be rapidly translated into effective legislation. During the Milan conference, the main challenges have been discussed by wind turbine manufacturers, component suppliers, developers, utilities, research institutes, national wind power associations together with national authorities and the European institutions. The conference conclusions will be fed into the ongoing negotiations on the new regulatory framework for renewables.
To achieve the 20% target and for wind energy to make a substantial contribution to it, action is needed in the following areas:
- The binding 20%target must be translated into ambitious national action plans in all EU countries;
- Specific and binding goals per sub-sector (electricity, heating and transport) must be included in the national roadmaps;
- Legal stability for renewable electricity in the EU must be maintained until an improved legal framework is in place - particularly with regard to the successful 2001 Directive on Electricity from Renewable Energy .
- An EU action plan to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind power must be tabled by the European Commission. The Action Plan should include a comprehensive analysis of the risks and barriers to the large scale development of offshore.
- Simplified grid access, grid reinforcement and increase interconnection are crucial preconditions for large scale deployment of wind energy. The existing guidelines for Trans-European Energy networks – the TEN-E guidelines - could provide a useful framework for upgrading the European grid infrastructure and plan it with integration for renewable energy sources in mind.
- Innovation - key element for ensuring a sustainable development of the technology and to maintain the European leadership worldwide. The R&D component of the wind energy sector is insufficiently recognized by the public authorities at national and EU level.
- Progress on the achievement of a truly competitive and European-wide electricity market, which does not discriminate against renewables.
EWEC 2007 awarded Erik Lundtang Petersen from Risoe the prestigious Poul la Cour prize in honour of outstanding achievements in wind energy and for his scientific integrity. Among many other exceptional accomplishments, Erik developed a methodology that has become the global standard for understanding wind climatology and produced the European Wind Atlas.
This year’s event saw over 5,000 participants attending from around 50 countries and 229 exhibiting companies.