EWEA Activities, BB200707
The European Wind Day: blown away in Brussels
On 15 June, the European Wind Energy Association coordinated a Europe-wide event to raise awareness about the power, potential and popularity of wind energy. Across the continent, 22 countries organised a total of 62 events, all producing very positive responses from the public and policy-makers alike. The Brussels’ event alone was covered by 12 national television networks, 4 radio networks, and at last count 85 news agencies.
The official launch of the campaign was in Brussels, where EWEA erected a 35 m. wind turbine on rond-point Schuman, directly between the European Commission and Council buildings.
On Thursday, 14 June, at 2:00 PM, the installation of the 35 m. turbine began. Despite a mighty storm in the afternoon, the lift of the rotor was completed on schedule, just as EWEA’s staff approached the intersection accompanied by some 70 guests from a VIP reception held at the Renewable Energy House.
All invitees, including Members of the European Parliament, Directors of DG TREN and ENV from the Commission, and other key players in the renewable energy sector, witnessed the lifting of a 20 m. rotor in the middle of one of Brussels’ busiest intersections. Cameras from several national TVs shot the whole event.
With the turbine providing a powerful backdrop, EWEA held a press conference to signal the official launch of The European Wind Day on Friday. EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs kicked off the festivities by breaking a bottle of champagne against the turbine. Symbolically, after three attempts the bottle refused to break; it was only with the assistance of two children who joined forces with the Commissioner that together they were finally able to break the bottle. The present and the future working side by side, to great success.
“We need to make big changes,” Piebalgs said. “Today we see that the technology is there and we can master whatever is necessary to achieve climate change and security of supply goals. We should be ambitious...and wind is one of the best ways. It is important that each citizen understands why we are doing this and why it is necessary.”
EWEA’s CEO Christian Kjaer explained that “in the 21st century the energy battle will be won by those countries and regions of the world that follow a strategy of developing, deploying and exporting renewable energy technology to a world that cannot afford to live without it.” EWEA estimates that with the necessary political will and the implementation of effective legislation, wind power would provide between 12% and 16% of EU electricity by 2020.
“Over the coming two decades Europe will witness the largest turnover in electricity generating capacity it has ever experienced. We must use this opportunity to make a radical shift in the structure of our energy supply”, continued Kjaer.
The message sent at the press conference resonated across the continent. Among the media coverage of the event were two Europe-wide television networks, Euronews and ESB (Europe By Satellite), as well as four Belgian, two Italian, one German, one Spanish, one Slovenian, and one Lithuanian network. Belgian and German radio each broadcast interviews of the press conference speakers. At last count 85 news agencies covered the press conference, as well as much enthusiastic participation of the blogging communities in France and Belgium - very powerful among the younger generation.
The events of the day were capped by the first-ever ‘Wind Power Party,’ which was held on the esplanade of the Berlaymont building, the European Commission headquarters. The festivities started at 19:00, with live bands playing international hits much to the enjoyment of the growing crowd. Some folk, rock, and soul were the ingredients of the night. At 23:30 a DJ took the stage and raised the tempo considerably. EWEA estimates a turnover of 2,500 people over the course of the evening. As if on cue, the wind blew strongly and consistently throughout the entire party, to the joy of the crowd who flew the distributed pin-wheels and kites.
As policy-makers delivered important messages to the press, the public responded with great enthusiasm to the turbine. A tent adjacent to the turbine offered explanatory panels which illustrated the differences between the turbine installed at the roundabout and the typical modern turbine. Visitors were both interested and very supportive of wind energy.
A report detailing the events across Europe is currently being prepared by EWEA. The next issue of Brussels Briefings will feature a description of each events, as well as comments by the various organisers and the reactions of the people involved.
To see the pictures of the European Wind Day, visit http://www.windday.eu