Wind to Meet 30 Percent of Europe's Kyoto Obiligations

Based on current trends, wind power will displace 100 million tonnes of CO2 across Europe by 2010.

Published: 09-Jun-2005

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 8, 2005  -- The use of wind turbines to generate electricity in Europe will avoid the emission of 100 megatonne of CO2 by 2010, delivering more than 30% of the EU’s total Kyoto Protocol obligation.

Installed wind capacity in Europe already displaces 50 million tonnes of CO2 every year, according to the European Wind Energy Association. On current trends, that displacement will rise to 100 million tonnes per year across Europe by 2010, and generate power for 34 million European households.

“It is a widely stated truism that there is no silver bullet in the quest for climate solutions; however, some bullets pack a deadlier punch,” says Corin Millais of EWEA. “Wind energy is an advanced technology which can cut carbon and help to meet growing electricity demand.”

Energy imports into Europe are predicted to rise from the current 50% to 70% by 2030, and wind is one of Europe’s largest indigenous energy resources and can help to build European energy independence, explains EWEA.

“Wind power has no resource constraints; the fuel is free, endless,” says Millais. “Wind power stations can be constructed and can deliver power far quicker than other conventional sources, with no import dependence and no fuel price risk. In terms of carbon delivery, wind energy is outperforming many other proposed solutions.”

“Wind power is one of the few energy supply technologies that has the maturity, clout and global muscle to deliver deep cuts in CO2,” he adds. “The competition for climate change solutions - like the earth’s climate - is hotting up. Wind energy needs to remain at the forefront of technical and policy innovations.”

A recent European Environment Agency assessment on GHG emission trends in Europe concluded that “the promotion of renewable energy has the greatest impact on emissions in most EU Member States for both implemented and planned policies,” and the International Energy Agency estimates that Europe must add 766 GW of power capacity by 2030 to cover new demand and replace older generation.

Emissions trading will not be a short-term boost for wind energy since the price of a CO2 allowance is unlikely to ever reflect the external costs associated with pollution and emissions of conventional power, he explains. An emission allowance applies to the marginal unit of electricity, and profits for conventional power generators of could be Euro 12 billion per year as a result.

“Auctioning all carbon credits is the only fair market way to allocate costs,” he says. “Precisely how the ETS will impact on the business strategies of all utilities remains to be seen over the next few years.”

The 230 members of EWEA from 40 countries cover 98% of the world wind power market, and the group claims to be the world’s largest renewable energy association.

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