Belgium: EWEA Urges EU Leaders to Increase Renewables Investments
At the EU summit held yesterday in Brussels, European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has urged EU Leaders to:
– Agree on investments in renewable energies and end fossil fuel subsidies
– Increase EIB capital to fund renewable energy
– Agree on procedures to divert EU funding towards renewable energy projects
– Earmark EU Cohesion and Research funds for renewable energy instead of gas which increases the EU’s already high energy import bill
– Agree on a stable legislative framework for renewables up to 2030
“If EU leaders want to create jobs in Europe they should invest in renewable energies. If they want to create jobs in Russia and Algeria they should invest in gas” said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Brussels. “Investments in renewable energy create more employment in Europe, while reducing the massive transfer of European wealth to fuel exporters.”
EU countries in economic crisis should address their dependency on energy imports and reduce the enormous outflow of money. Spain has to import 80% of its consumed energy, Ireland 88%, Italy 83%, Portugal 81% and Greece 68%. This burden will grow and can be tackled by additional investments in renewable energy production.
Wind power, solar energy, biomass and other renewable energies reduce fuel import costs. For the 2007 to 2010 period, EU wind energy alone avoided fuel costs of 20 billion Euros. The industry added 30% new jobs 2007-2010 and employed 238,154 people directly and indirectly in 2010. If EU Member States agreed on binding targets for renewable energy for 2030, wind energy employment would rise to 520,000 full time jobs in the EU by 2020.
But instead of following this path, EU Ministers have agreed to extend already scarce EU funding for energy to gas, a commercially viable and mature technology which the Commission’s energy roadmap 2050 says will not increase in its share of EU energy consumption in future. Ministers have recently agreed that
– the European Regional Development Fund (EU budget for 2014-2020) should now “develop smart gas and power distribution, storage and transmission systems”,
– the “horizon 2020” research fund should now be used for gas, rebranded as a “safe and reliable low-carbon energy technologies”.
Expenditure for gas net imports in billion Euros (assuming IEA real 2010 prices for natural gas imports)/Euro area (17 countries): 2005 – 48,23; 2006 – 62,15; 2007 – 57,06; 2008 – 87,28; 2009 – 60,73; 2010 – 61,28.
Offshore WIND staff, June 29, 2012; Image: EWEA