WW200910, Brussels in brief
Offshore wind plans would supply 10% of EU power, but an adapted grid is needed
EWEA’s new report, released at Offshore Wind 2009 in Stockholm, shows that existing and planned European offshore wind projects would, if implemented, supply 10% of Europe's electricity whilst avoiding over 200 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.
The full extent of existing and planned European offshore wind projects is outlined in the report, called 'Oceans of Opportunity'. "There is huge developer interest in offshore wind power" said Arthuros Zervos, President of EWEA. "The scale of planned projects is far greater than most people realise.”
The report was welcomed by EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. Piebalgs said at the offshore event that “harnessing the winds off Europe’s coasts – starting with the planned projects announced today by EWEA - would provide an answer to the global challenges of climate change, depleting indigenous energy resources, increasing fuel costs and the threat of energy supply disruptions. The European Commission is committed to doing everything we can to support offshore wind developers and make sure their planned projects come to fruition”. Accompanying the report was a 20 year plan for the development of European offshore wind power and related infrastructure. The plan provides a comprehensive approach to constructing a transnational offshore power grid. Building on the 11 interconnectors already in place and the 21 being studied by grid operators in the North and Baltic Seas, EWEA proposes eight additional offshore interconnectors by 2020 and six more by 2030.
2010 is a key year for planning Europe's future electricity grid, which needs massive upgrading, as the European Commission is due to publish a Blueprint for a North Sea Grid while European electricity network operators will publish a 10 year plan for developing a truly European grid - essential for a single European energy market, harnessing renewable energies and improving security of supply.
“EWEA’s new offshore network plan will provide a truly pan-European electricity super highway”, said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive of EWEA. “This will bring affordable electricity to consumers, reduce import dependence, cut CO2 emissions and allow Europe to access its largest domestic energy source – offshore wind.
“EWEA urges the European Commission to incorporate our plan when drafting its Blueprint for a North Sea Grid, and the European Network of Transmission System Operators to do the same when drafting its 10 Year Network Development Plan”, Kjaer went on.