12 May 2007 - 10:44
  • News Code: 104316

With hydropower running near its limits, wind energy is one of the keys to achieving the goal of generating 20 percent of the EU’s power supply with renewable sources by 2010, European policy makers told Europe’s premiere wind energy event on Monday.

But obstacles remain in many countries ranging from aesthetic and environmental concerns to the need for stable political frameworks, upgrades in the existing power infrastructure and intensified research and innovation, participants said.

The European Commission is working on an action plan to put into practice the political decision made in March by the 27 EU nations to increase the use of renewable energies to 20 percent by 2020 while confirming the goal of lowering greenhouse gases by 20 percent in the same period.

The document, expected to be completed by October or November, will include national objectives for each EU nation.

“The scientific evidence is clear. Climate change is happening. There is no doubt any longer, and the scientists agree and have stopped arguing. An integrated approach is needed,“ said Fabrizio Barbaso, deputy director general of the European Commission. “Human beings are responsible, and human beings need to find an appropriate response. Energy is an issue that concerns the very future of our planet.“

Barbaso expects wind power, along with biomasss fuel sources, to be a critical component of the action plans, since hydropower, which represents two-thirds of renewable energy share, is running at its maximum level.

The European Wind Energy Association estimates that between 13 percent and 16 percent of EU electricity consumed by 2020 could be generated by wind, for a total of 180 gigawatts of windpower.

The association says that, in an average year, wind produces 3.3 percent of the total EU energy consumption, or approximately 100 terrawat hours of electricity. That would increase fivefold by 2020 if the goals are met.

“Wind energy will be the main contributor to effectively get 20 percent of the EU’s total energy supply to come from renewables by 2020,“ wind association president Arthouros Zervos said.

But to reach that goal, Zervos said Europe would have to develop an offshore wind energy policy while continuing to work on expanding onshore wind farm production. While offshore projects can harness higher velocity winds that are more regular, they remain more expensive to develop than onshore projects, Zervos said.

The wind industry says that increasing reliance on wind power generation would create about 370,000 new jobs in Europe and make energy prices more predictable.

In Europe, Germany and Spain continue to be the biggest wind energy producers, but their combined market share has decreased from 80 percent in 2002 to 50 percent last year as other EU countries develop their potential, the EWEA said.



News Code 104316

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