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Brussels in brief, WW200904

Wind industry can bring economic growth and jobs to Czech Republic, with proper government decisions

16.04.2009

The future growth of the Czech wind energy sector, and the consequent creation of many new jobs, will strongly depend on the government removing the administrative and grid access barriers that currently hinder wind energy projects. This is what delegates heard at a European workshop on the integration of wind energy in the Czech Republic organised by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Czech Wind Energy Association (ČSVE) on 15 April.

“In light of the three major global challenges that mankind is currently facing – the energy crisis, the financial crisis and the climate crisis – it has become obvious that wind energy offers concrete solutions to all three by providing an indigenous, reliable, affordable and clean energy” said Petr Holub, adviser to the Czech Environment Ministry. “Wind projects still face lots of administrative barriers in Czech Republic, which makes construction times of new projects disproportionately long thereby creating uncertainty to the markets” he added.

The EU Directive setting up mandatory targets for renewable energy for all EU Member States establishes that the Czech Republic must increase the amount of renewables in its energy mix from 6.1% in 2005 to 13% by 2020.

“A national action plan (NAP) outlining appropriate measures to reach the targets will have to be submitted by June 2010 to the European Commission” said Justin Wilkes, head of Regulatory Affairs for EWEA. “In the case of the Czech Republic, it is crucial that the government addresses issues such as administrative procedures and grid access for renewables projects promptly. This will facilitate the development of wind energy, which could be the main contributor to reaching the targets” added Wilkes.

Currently, 500 people are directly employed in the wind industry in the Czech Republic. In total, there is 150 MW of installed wind power capacity in the country, out of the approximately 65,000 MW of total wind installations in the EU. The Czech Wind Energy Association foresees a growth in the market of up to 1,500 MW by 2020. “It’s a feasible target” said Michael Janeček, President of ČSVE. “Investors are showing a growing interest and are just waiting for a positive signal from the government to go out there and harness the promising wind resources of this country”.

At the workshop, Wilkes described wind energy as a “mature industry and a competitive power generating technology”. In 2008, 36% of all new electricity generating capacity built in the European Union was wind energy, exceeding all other technologies including gas, coal and nuclear power. On average, 20 wind turbines were installed for every working day of 2008. By the end of the year, a total of 160,000 workers were employed directly and indirectly in the sector, which saw investments of about €11 billion in the EU.

“The positive growth trends we see in Europe could certainly be reflected on the Czech scale, bringing about new wealth and jobs for its citizens”, concluded Wilkes.

The event in Prague was the first of a series of workshops organised in promising emerging markets in order to analyse issues related to the further development of wind power in Europe . The next workshops will take place in Bucharest, Budapest, Sofia and Istanbul.

For further information please contact:
Michael Janeček – Czech Wind Energy Association [email protected]
Paolo Berrino – European Wind Energy Association [email protected]

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