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EWEA's Opinion

EWEA's opinion

05.09.2008

Perhaps understandably in all the grim news reports that have been published on the recent Russia-Georgia war over South Ossetia, little attention has been paid to the proven ability of wind power to help wean Europe off its costly dependence on foreign oil and natural gas.

While wind power currently only contributes up to 4% of Europe’s electricity demand, the EU wants that figure to increase to 12 to 14% by 2020. The European Wind Energy Association, however, has already made predictions for 2030 showing that wind power could provide up to 28% of the EU’s electrical demand.

Figures for imported oil and gas are, quite frankly, frightening, especially for European policy makers and elected leaders looking for a secure, affordable and local energy supply.

The latest fossil fuel trends report from the European Commission shows that Member States are currently importing close to 60% of total gas requirements, a figure that is expected to rise to about 84% by 2030.

Our dependence on foreign oil is even worse: already the EU imports close to 85% of its oil and by 2030 that is likely to rise to 95%.

It seems certain that shipments of oil and gas from outside the EU will be required for some time to come. However the Russia-Georgia conflict, which could develop into the worst crisis involving Europe since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, should make politicians redouble their support for wind power and other renewables through efficient and transparent laws and regulations.

So far, oil has continued to flow in and out of Georgia during the crisis. Nonetheless, the possibility of a supply disruption to Europe only serves to emphasise that the EU has to do as much as possible, and as quickly as possible, to support the development of wind power.

5 September, 2008

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