Europe - Offshore wind to provide as much as 17% of EU electricity demand by 2030

“Strong and sustained political support and action from Europe’s policymakers will allow a new, multi-billion euro industry to be built”

Offshore wind may provide as much as 17 percent of European Union electricity demand by 2030, surging from almost nothing now as the bloc promotes renewable energy, an industry group said.

Total installed capacity of offshore wind may jump to 150 gigawatts in 2030 from the current 1.5 gigawatts, the European Wind Energy Association said in a report released today. The share of EU energy consumption coming from renewables must more than double to 20 percent on average by 2020 under a new law for the bloc. Renewable sources include solar power and biomass.

“Strong and sustained political support and action from Europe’s policymakers will allow a new, multi-billion euro industry to be built,” according to the statement from the group, which represents companies including Sweden’s Vattenfall AB and Siemens Wind Power A/S, a unit of Siemens AG.

Offshore wind power currently meets no more than 0.3 percent of electricity demand in the EU, according to the association. European policymakers should follow up recently approved legislation promoting renewable energy with actions to spur offshore grids, the Brussels-based association said. To complement the new law, the EU is seeking to provide subsidies for offshore grids and coordinate national regulation.

The renewable-energy push may also get a boost from separate EU legislation aimed at making the use of fossil fuels such as oil and coal more costly. That legislation, which includes tougher caps on industries in Europe’s emissions- trading system, underpins an EU goal to reduce emissions blamed for climate change by 20 percent in 2020 compared with 1990.

Offshore wind capacity installed in 2030 would meet between 13 and 17 percent of total EU electricity demand, avoiding emissions of 290 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the group said.

“Offshore wind can deliver a critical contribution to a more climate-friendly power system,” EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said today at a wind energy conference in Stockholm. “Challenges are there to be overcome, and more than many others, the offshore wind sector has proven itself capable of doing just that.”

100 Gigawatts:
More than 100 gigawatts of offshore-wind power programs are being planned in 15 EU member states and other European countries, according to the report. Investment in the industry will rise fivefold to 16.5 billion euros in 2030 from 3.3 billion euros in 2011, it forecast.

In its economic stimulus package earlier this year, the EU earmarked 4 billion euros for energy networks, including 565 million for offshore wind projects.

The wind association called on European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, to publish its policy outline for the creation of a European offshore grid linking 11 operating networks and 21 planned in the North and Baltic seas.

The association and 14 wind-energy companies including Vattenfall and Germany’s E.ON AG called on the European Investment Bank to step up financing of offshore wind-farm projects and electricity grids.

At Risk:
The U.K.’s Crown Estate said in July it would offer power producers the chance to expand offshore wind farms already approved for development after the British Wind Energy Association said there was a risk the momentum for turbines built at sea would drop next decade.

Sites approved in the country’s first and second licensing rounds will be eligible to bid for an extension, the Crown Estate said. While the agency didn’t set a limit on size, it said projects must be deliverable in a “short timescale.”

The U.K., which has the EU’s most offshore wind capacity, could accommodate 25 gigawatts in addition to the 8 gigawatts already built or planned, the government said in June.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, gave the green light for three offshore wind parks with a total of 192 turbines in the North Sea, the BSH Federal Agency for Marine Transport and Hydrography said on Sept. 1. The authority has approved some 25 parks in the North and Baltic Seas, according to the statement on its Web site.

Online editorial www.windfair.net
Posted by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
wind energy, renewable energy, wind turbine, wind power, wind farm, rotorblade, onshore, offshore

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