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EWEA Activities, BB200711

A glance back at 2007

12.12.2007

2007 has been a very busy time for EWEA, with major policy developments on renewable energy at EU level, new legislation in the offing, and a whole range of conferences and projects. Here is a brief look back at some of the highlights and major pieces of wind energy-related news from this year, as it draws to an end.

In January, the European Commission published an Energy Policy for Europe and the results of a Eurobarometer survey on energy and climate.

In February, EWEA published its statistics for 2006, which showed that installed wind energy capacity had seen an increase of 23% compared to 2005, and reached a total of 48,000 MW. It was clear that a second wave of countries – after Germany, Spain and Denmark, the three pioneers – was now investing in wind power.

March saw the EU heads of state unanimously agree to the binding renewables target of 20% by 2020. EWEA welcomed the decision, but called on the EU to ensure legal stability until an improved legal framework could be put in place. It also asked for fair access to the electricity grid and improved competition in the power markets through full ownership unbundling of transmission and distribution activities.

At the end of April, EWEA announced its new campaign. Entitled ‘Seize the Opportunity’, the campaign called for fast action by European decision makers in order to turn the looming energy and climate crisis into an opportunity for Europe. EWEA recommended that this be done through stable political frameworks, unbundling, integrating wind energy into the power grid, maintaining cost reductions, increasing the contribution of offshore wind and intensifying R&D.

EWEA held its annual European Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition in May, in Milan, Italy. The main theme of the conference was an “energy crossroads” – that Europe must choose whether to act to implement a new energy roadmap or not. More than 5,000 participants met over four days in order to discuss the steps needed in order to implement large-scale wind power - specifically called for national renewables plans, sector targets and a competitive electricity market.. Over 500 presentations were given and eight workshops were held.

The first European Wind Day was held on 15 June. A wind turbine was placed on the Schuman roundabout at the centre of the European area of Brussels. Presentations were made by politicians and officials including the EU Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. In the evening there was a free street party with live DJ’s and a light show. Similar events were held all around Europe, with an estimated 40,000 members of the public taking part. As part of this day, EWEA also launched a wind turbine photo contest with the magazine PHOTO.

A European seminar on renewable energy sources took place in July, in Lisbon. Arthouros Zervos, the president of EWEA, spoke about the necessity of a fast and adequate policy framework for renewables in order to meet the target of 35% of Europe’s electricity coming from renewables.

September saw the Commission presenting its package on the internal market for electricity and gas, proposing to separate network operation from power production while proposing to continue to allow grid ownership by vertically-integrated power companies if the operation was handed over to an Independent System Operator. EWEA described this package as a good job, but half done, as full ownership unbundling is needed to avoid adverse incentives when decisions on new grid investments and grid connection of third parties are made.

EWEA published its position paper on the forthcoming renewables legislation and the potential market risks involved in “virtual trade” in October. It recommended sector-specific targets, as well as improved grid access and administrative processes, to ensure the successful implementation of the legislation.

In November, EWEA voiced its opinion on the Commission’s proposed Strategic Energy Technology Plan. The Plan acknowledges that wind energy is a key technology to meet the 20% renewables target, but EWEA believes it still needs better focus, greater clarity and to set priorities. EWEA agreed with the Commission that current energy research efforts must be increased dramatically, but regretted that the Plan does not discuss how to reverse the irrational imbalances in national and EU research budgets. The wind energy sector would have liked to see a more detailed and clear financial strategy and priority-setting that took into account the past allocation of R&D funds to different energy technologies

In the first week of December, the European Offshore Wind Conference took place in Berlin, Germany. Over 2,000 representatives of the offshore wind industry, policy makers and energy specialists gathered to discuss the future of offshore wind energy in Europe as a concrete energy and climate solution. The event marked the launch of EWEA’s Offshore Report, which outlined offshore potential up to 2020 and highlighted the political and technical challenges to be addressed in order to achieve large-scale deployment.

To find out more about EWEA’s activities, click here

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