TradeWind – the European project funded under the EU’s Intelligent Energy-Europe programme – has recently published an essential 100-page paper on the state of the European wind power industry. In this exclusive extract from the comprehensive, hard-hitting report, PES picks out all the important and salient issues facing us all as we move into an uncertain future.
Nevertheless, the good news is that the report concludes that the recent rapid growth in wind power generation – triggered by technological and industrial development and the move towards sustainable economics – indicates that wind power should be seen as one of the main domestic sources for electricity generation within the European Union.
Europe’s dependency on imported fossil fuel has become a threat to economic stability, increasing uncertainties over energy prices. At the same time, the European electricity industry is facing a huge challenge related to generation capacity investment needed in the coming years. The surplus capacity that existed in some countries prior to liberalisation is diminishing and many existing power plants are getting closer to decommissioning. For these reasons, one of the key points on the European energy policy agenda is to increase the share of demand covered from renewable energy sources. European Commission targets related to reduction of greenhouse gases and energy dependency state that by 2020, 20% of all energy demand will be covered by renewables. The Commission estimates that approximately 34% of EU’s electricity demand needs to come from renewables by 2020 (up from 16% in 2006) to meet the overall energy objective.
It also envisages that wind energy will meet 12% of EU electricity demand by 2020, up from approximately 4% in 2008. The renewable source of energy with the most potential for helping meet these targets is wind power. It is a very promising and mature renewable technology, using resources that are favourably distributed between member states, both onshore and offshore. It is not only able to contribute to European energy independence and meet the future climate goals, but could also help turn the serious energy security problem into a new opportunity for Europe, providing economic benefit, employment, technology and research leadership. The recent rapid growth in wind power generation, triggered by technological and industrial development and the move towards sustainable economics, indicates that wind power should be seen as one of the main domestic sources for electricity generation in the EU.