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News, Press2009

Recovery investment in offshore wind shows its strategic importance for Europe

10.12.2009

The €565 million investment in  nine offshore wind energy projects and infrastructure – approved yesterday by the European Commission as part of its European Economic Recovery Plan - shows that the European Union sees the offshore wind industry as a strategic sector for Europe’s future, said the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). 

“Measures such as these can contribute to strengthening Europe’s competitive lead in wind energy at a time of economic uncertainty and in which strong financial measures are being taken by governments outside Europe to challenge European companies’ leadership position”, said Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA. “As Europe’s largest untapped energy source, offshore wind can contribute significantly to Europe’s economic recovery, reduce import dependence and slash CO₂ emissions.”  

The announcement yesterday also helped Europe edge closer to European Commission President Barroso’s vision for an electricity supergrid, with the Commission’s announcement that over half of the Plan’s €565 million for offshore wind projects will be spent on offshore electricity interconnections.  

The cables between the Netherlands and Denmark, an offshore platform on the planned HVDC link between Shetland and the Scottish mainland to connect offshore wind, as well as Krieger’s Flak in the Baltic Sea, are key to the development of a new offshore wind industry – enabling new offshore wind farms to hook up to the cables. These interconnections will not only enable a greater cross-border flow of the electricity produced by the many offshore wind farms in the North Sea, but they will also further the integration of Europe’s power markets, improve competition and lower prices for the European consumer.  

Three more projects that were recently advanced would link Norway with the UK, Norway with Germany and the UK with the Netherlands.  

“There is still much work to do, but all these projects are significant steps towards the construction of a European supergrid, as envisaged by President Barroso in his political guidelines for the next Commission,” added Kjaer. “A European offshore grid would be good news for the consumer as it would dramatically improve competition and move us a step further towards a real internal market in electricity.”  

EWEA research 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. EWEA recently published a master plan for building a North Sea Grid, and urges the Commission and Transmission System Operators to take on board its recommendations.  

This week has seen a growing momentum for developing offshore wind and an electricity supergrid in the North Sea with a political declaration between nine countries at the EU Energy Council, a major EIB investment and yesterday’s Commission announcement.  

 

For more information:

See the European Commission's press release on the Recovery Plan

See EWEA’s press release on the political declaration

See EWEA’s press release on the EIB announcement

See EWEA’s webpage on offshore wind

 


For more information contact:
Paolo Berrino, EWEA
[email protected]
+32 2 400 10 55

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