6 yrs
EWEA Activities, BB200711

Offshore Wind Conference sees Commission announce an offshore action plan

12.12.2007

Offshore wind is necessary if Europe is to acheive its 20% binding target for renewable energy by 2020, over 2,000 delegates heard last week at EWEA’s Offshore Wind Conference in Berlin, Germany. The European Commission confirmed the importance of the energy source by announcing an offshore action plan for 2008 at the conference opening session, and afterwards three countries signed a Joint Declaration for research on offshore wind energy.

Alfonso Gonzalez Finat, the Director of new and renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency & Innovation at the European Commission, announced the offshore action plan, which will be proposed in 2008. He also confirmed that the “directive promoting renewables will be issued next month”. After that, he went on, Member States will put in place the national plans which would be “divided by sub-sector for electricity, heating & cooling and transport”.

An offshore wind action plan was one of the key policy recommendations in a new publication, entitled, ‘Developing Offshore Wind Power in Europe’, which was launched by EWEA at the opening session of the conference. Other key recommentations included the establishment of stable, long-term markets for offshore wind, increasing research and technological development, improving grid integration and facilitating efficient planning procedures. EWEA’s report estimates that, if barriers are removed, up to 40 GW of offshore wind energy could be operating in the European Union by 2020, supplying 4% of Europe’s electricity.

The opening session in Berlin was followed by a press conference, at which the German Environment Parliamentary State Secretary, Michael Müller, and the Danish and Swedish Energy Ministers, Connie Hedegaard and Maud Olofsson, signed a Joint Declaration on Cooperation in the Field of Research on Offshore Wind Energy Deployment.

EWEA president Arthouros Zervos stated, “I am very pleased with these two key steps forward for offshore wind - firstly, the announcement of an offshore framework, which EWEA has been calling for, and secondly the signing of the Joint Declaration, which demonstrates regional cooperation in research.”

Other sessions during the three-day conference focused on industry vision, EU national policies, research, grid connection, economic issues, technical issues, social acceptance, case studies and lessons learnt.

As the 2007 European offshore wind conference drew to a close, Germany handed over the role as host to Sweden, where the next edition of the European offshore wind conference will be held in Stockholm on 14-16 September 2009.

Matthias Rapp, Chief Executive of SVIF, the Swedish Wind Energy Association, said, “We are proud that EWEA has chosen Stockholm to host the next European Offshore Wind Conference in 2009. Sweden is one of the few EU member states that have the potential to contribute to the substantial offshore development that is necessary to meet the renewable energy target for Europe in 2020.”

The Berlin event gathered over 2,000 participants, including 120 exhibitors offering a range of services and solutions in the fast-expanding offshore wind market.

“The three days of discussions and presentations at the European offshore wind energy conference have amply demonstrated the power and potential of this form of energy. Europe must now prioritise clean technologies such as offshore wind in order to meet its renewables objective”, concluded conference chair, Kaj Lindvig.

For more photos and information on the conference, please click here

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