by Colin Houghton
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has published a new report revealing that by 2020, the EU wind industry could avoid 342 million tonnes of CO2- equivalent to a to a massive 31% of the EU’s target of reducing CO2 emissions by 20%. If emissions avoided by other renewable electricity technologies are included, this increases almost half (48%) of the EU’s target. The huge contribution of wind power, the report argues, means that it is entirely possible for the EU to move from a 20% to a 30% emissions reduction target. The report also analyses the impact of wind energy on the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) emission reduction targets and the international greenhouse gas reduction pledges.
The report says that since 1995, wind energy has played an increasing and accelerating role in the evolution of the power sector. This can be seen from the fact that most of the 84GW of wind energy built up to the end of 2010 were added in the last 10 years. Wind power has been at second of the list for installation of power creation technology within the EU over the last 10 years, with gas being top. The report proposes a methodology for calculating wind-avoided CO2 at EU level and looks at the impact the deployment of the technology is having, and will have, on emissions reductions.
The data contained in the report backs up an earlier report from the EWEA showing that both the climate crisis and focus on renewables have been the main drivers for emissions reductions in recent years. It comes at an opportune time, as the European Parliament is discussing the 2050 low carbon roadmap presented by the European Commission in February and is actively considering including a demand to increase the legally binding renewable energy target after 2020. EWEA urges Member States and European Parliament to agree to a unilateral 30% domestic reduction, thereby putting the EU at the forefront of the world green economies. EWEA says this would help address the employment, energy security, health and climate issues we are facing today, while reaping the commercial benefits and job creation from exporting modern energy technology. Wind energy will help on that path, but for investors to “make the right decisions”, the signals must be very clear. The EU considers itself the cradle of renewable energy innovation, particularly wind power, and the European wind industry represents a growing number of jobs; 188,000 in 2010.
In Brussels the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, Martin Lidegaard, left, reacted to the published report, referring to the “impressive figures in the report which show how much we can achieve in the next ten years“. Jo Leinen, the Chairman of the European Parliament Environment Committee (below) said: “I very much welcome this report, it very much supports the European Parliament’s arguments“.“Economic crisis cannot serve as an excuse for doing nothing,” he added.
“An ambitious 2020 climate target is key to maintaining Europe’s leadership in the wind power industry in an environment of fast growing global competition from China, the US, South Korea and Japan” said Rémi Gruet(below), EWEA’s Senior Advisor on Climate and Environment. “It is clear that by deploying wind energy and other renewables the EU can move to a 30% greenhouse gas reduction target with ease.”
The report can be downloaded from this page: http://www.ewea.org/index.php?id=60&no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=1919&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=17fc7772a447f5b1ffb6141de31ae1b3