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EWEA hosts wind power side event at UN climate summit

07.12.2015

The European Wind Energy Association hosted a side event at the UN climate negotiations in Paris to highlight the economic benefits of wind energy in Europe and across the world.

Entitled "wind energy – powering green solutions", the two-hour session included dual panels made up of industry and policy experts. In the first panel session, Giles Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of EWEA, Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council and Michael Waldron of the International Energy Agency, debated the merits of wind power and the progress towards a world powered 100% by renewables.

Dickson highlighted the cost argument, citing numbers from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which show that onshore wind power is already winning the price battle with other technologies – such as gas and coal – based on the levelised cost of electricity.

He said: "Last year wind power installed more than gas and coal combined in the EU. Europe's energy and economic transition is underway. Now politicians must decide whether to accelerate this transition or drag their heels, which would damage investments and job creation."

GWEC's Steve Sawyer provided a rounded picture of the growth markets on other continents, delivering a complete account of the industry beyond Europe's borders. He highlighted key markets in Mexico, Brazil and South Africa as countries where wind energy will have a significant role to play in the coming years.

After two opening statements, it was the turn of the IEA. Michael Waldron presented the organisation's findings in its Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015. Waldron said onshore wind leads the global renewable growth, accounting for over one-third of the renewable capacity and generation increase. While offshore wind should more than triple by 2020, with expected decreases in generation costs and additions from a large project pipeline in Europe.

The second panel of the day focused on the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and turning country commitments into investment programmes for the future. RES Commercial Director Marco Perona and Geraldine Ang of the OECD participated in the session and gave their insights into how emerging markets are shaping up.

Nations such as China, India and Brazil have all submitted national commitments ahead of the climate showdown in Paris, with many setting ambitious new targets for renewables.  India has pledged to install 60GW of wind farms by 2022 up from 22GW today, Turkey has committed to 16GW of wind by 2030 while China is pushing for 200GW of wind by the end of the decade.

Marco Perona of RES said that the EU's risks losing its leadership on renewable energy technology if it does not put in place stable and long-term policy frameworks that lay the groundwork for the deployment of wind energy.

OCED's Ang echoed Perona's sentiments on stable public policies, adding that visibility for investors is key to creating jobs and attracting capital.

From Twitter:

Giles Dickson: There is a strong business case for wind power. See @SolutionWind ads in the Economist and NY Times pic.twitter.com/35KMjAsKZf

— EWEA (@EWEA) December 5, 2015

China is leading wind power growth, they installed 23GW in 2014, says @GWECGlobalWind CEO Steve Sawyer pic.twitter.com/vlxq0oFtKh

— EWEA (@EWEA) December 5, 2015

Renewables becoming largest source of new power capacity, with wind energy in the lead, says @IEA Michael Waldron pic.twitter.com/LCopTQVOGr

— EWEA (@EWEA) December 5, 2015

Marco Perona of @RESGroup says Turkey is accelerating wind deployment to reduce dependence gas imports from abroad. pic.twitter.com/qMd9cDrgit

— EWEA (@EWEA) December 5, 2015

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