EU economies to be put on road to recovery
The wind industry is hailing the newly-agreed EU Economic Recovery Plan as the right economic medicine at the right time. The European Parliament passed the €5 billion Plan at its plenary session earlier today. “By including offshore wind and electricity grids in the Plan, EU decision-makers have chosen the right areas to make a real difference long-term”, said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “The European Parliament’s approval of the Plan should give a real boost to the burgeoning offshore wind sector.”
The €565 million the EU Recovery Plan allocates to offshore wind energy projects will stimulate Europe’s largest indigenous energy resource. Moreover, part of the €3.98 billion the Recovery Plan earmarks for energy projects will go towards interconnecting Europe’s power grids, and initiating the first stage of an offshore electricity ‘supergrid’. This should speed up offshore development and network integration even further. As a result, it will also benefit consumers directly by improving cross-border electricity flow and driving down the power price.
Another key part of the Plan is the agreement reached between the Czech Presidency and European Parliament’s Rapporteur that, following a budget review by the European Commission in March 2010, unspent monies could be made available to certain renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This would be an excellent way to ensure any unspent money is put to work to stimulate Europe’s economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy not only decreases Europe’s dependence on fuel imports, it creates technological leadership, provides jobs, and helps counter the dangerous and expensive effects of climate change caused by fossil fuels.