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Wind power could meet 70% of emissions pledge, and create jobs

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The European Commission has identified offshore wind development in the Atlantic as part of the "new economic reality" of which coastal areas need to take advantage to create jobs. Meanwhile the European Wind Energy Association reiterates that wind energy can also drive down emissions, making a significant contribution to meeting 2020 targets.
Wind power could meet 70% of emissions pledge, and create jobs

The European Commission has identified offshore wind development in the Atlantic as part of the "new economic reality" of which coastal areas need to take advantage to create jobs. Meanwhile the European Wind Energy Association reiterates that wind energy can also drive down emissions, making a significant contribution to meeting 2020 targets.

"By 2020, around 20% of the European offshore wind installed capacity could be located in the Atlantic basin", stated the European Commission in its newly published "Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean Area" report.

"With over 23,000 Megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power currently being planned by developers in the Atlantic Ocean, the Strategy considers the development of offshore wind as a key asset for the sea basin", explains Anne-Bénédicte Genachte, Regulatory Affairs Advisor at the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Brussels.

In its Strategy the European Commission stresses that "the expansion of offshore wind farms in the Atlantic will offer key industrial opportunities for the ports that service them".

EWEA supports the Commission in its view that maritime spatial planning is important across European waters. EWEA stresses that it is a key element for EU offshore wind development. It will help bring down costs through an optimum integration of the wind farms into the marine environment.

The Commission warns that "successful deployment of large scale offshore renewable energy will only happen if grid connections are ensured to link the main production centres to consumption." The Commission further proposes to include the Irish Sea in the EU's planning for energy infrastructure priorities, which EWEA welcomes as a positive step.

The planned Atlantic Forum (with Member States, the European Parliament, regional authorities, civil society and industry representatives) will help develop the Commission's proposed Atlantic Action Plan to be adopted in 2013.

Wind can cover up to 70% of pledges

Meanwhile, EWEA itself has released new figures showing how wind power could meet up to 70% of Copenhagen emission reduction pledges on the basis of current growth rates and projections for 2020.

The new report shows how wind power alone will contribute to 31% of the emissions reductions required by the current EU climate target, and called on the EU as well as other countries in the negotiations to raise their level of ambition.

The huge contribution of wind power in Europe shows it is possible for the EU to move from a 20% to a 30% emissions reduction target. If the EU was to move to a 30% target, wind energy could still provide the equivalent of 20% of the reduction. The new EWEA report Wind Energy and Climate Policy also analyses the impact of wind energy on the international greenhouse gas reduction pledges. "An ambitious renewable energy target for 2030 and increased climate targets inside the EU would provide much needed regulatory stability to energy investors" says Rémi Gruet, EWEA's Senior Advisor on Climate and Environment.

“While the negotiations proceed at a snail’s pace, wind power is racing ahead”, said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council. “Wind and other renewable technologies are playing a larger role than anyone could have anticipated a few years ago. But we need ambitious emission reduction targets in order to reach our full potential, and spur the other measures necessary to close the emissions gap. As the IEA pointed out in their new World Energy Outlook, we have five years to turn the tide, or reaching the 2°C target could be practically out of reach.”

For additional information:

"Developing a Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean Area"

"Wind Energy and Climate Policy"

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