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EU climate policy: a moving target?

PES takes a look at the recently-published EWEA report on EU climate policy, and examines the potential for wind power to drastically reduce emissions by setting greater targets.

Wind energy production does not emit any greenhouse gases (GHG), unlike coal, gas and oil. Because of the way the electricity market operates – using marginal costs rather than full investment and operation costs – wind energy replaces a mix of gas, coal and oil generation. The European Commission estimates that these three technologies emit on average 696g CO2/kWh in 2010. 181 TWh of wind energy production would therefore have avoided a total of 126 million tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2) in 2010.

As party to the Kyoto Protocol, the EU-27 committed to reduce emissions by 7.8 per cent compared to 1990 levels with at least 50 per cent of these reductions to be made inside the EU – so called domestic reductions – while the rest can be achieved by purchasing credits from projects outside the EU via the Clean Development Mechanism or Joint Implementation (CDM/JI) otherwise called offsets.

Wind and other renewable energy emissions reductions are domestic reductions, made in the EU. Comparing the Kyoto Protocol targets with CO2 avoided by wind energy, we find that in 2010, EU wind energy avoided as much as 28 per cent of the EU’s Kyoto reduction target (or 56 per cent of the EU’s domestic reductions target).


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