As EWEA 2015 opened its door in Paris, the Chairman of EWEA and CEO of Siemens Wind Power and Renewables, Markus Tacke, sent out a clear message to the industry and political leaders to raise wind energy ambitions, as it could bring numerous economic and environmental benefits.
“Our political leaders must take important decisions in the weeks and months to come. Decisions that will have a profound impact on our industry,” Tacke said in his opening speech.
He presented six policy priorities of EWEA:
1. A robust governments’ system should be agreed to ensure EU Member States collectively deliver on the 2030 binding renewable energy target and are rewarded for additional ambition.
2. The measures for delivery of this binding target should be enshrined in a new Renewable Energy Directive to be tabled by the EU Commission in 2016.
3. For the past-2020 period, Member States should develop national renewable energy action plans, considering the EU long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction objectives.
4. National permitting procedures should be streamlined to allow for a cost-effective deployment of wind energy.
5. EU Commission should make concrete legislative proposals towards a well-functioning energy market, driving the transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy.
6. A structural reform of the EU Emission Trading System should be completed to provide for high and stable carbon prices.
Tacke highlighted that the wind industry has come a long way, from a niche technology to a mainstream player. Thanks to research and innovation, the cost of wind power, both onshore and offshore, has come down significantly.
He went on to say that, in 2014, three out of five leading global wind turbine manufacturers were European companies. Competitors in other countries, China for example, tend to concentrate on their home market. “The European wind energy industry is an export industry,” Tacke emphasised.
“But we can do more,” he said while introducing EWEA’s brochure Aiming High.
The publication refers to the 2030 targets set in Brussels, which call for renewables to make up at least 27% of the energy consumed. EWEA has invited policy makers to reflect on this point, and to go beyond the bare minimum.
In Aiming High, EWEA has laid out a scenario which aims at 53.7% of electricity consumed in Europe to be sourced by renewable energy technologies, with wind accounting for 28.2% of total electricity demand.
“This would be a net positive for the EU economy with an additional €13 bn GDP resulting from the increased deployment of wind and other renewables. The transformation of the energy mix will also lead to a net job creation in the European Union with 366,000 direct and indirect jobs in the wind industry alone,” the organization said.