European governments and industry have teamed up to increase the EU's reliance on wind power by 500 percent in one decade.
Three European nations are teaming up with the renewable energy industry to increase the continent’s current wind power capacity by a whopping 500 percent — in just a single decade.
Energy ministers from Belgium, Germany, and Denmark joined multiple industry leaders in signing a declaration on Tuesday, IFLScience reports, at the “Offshore Wind Energy 2017 in London, pledging to deliver a 60 gigawatts (GW) of wind power between 2020 and 2030, or at least 4 GW per year of new deployment in the decade after 2020. The current capacity of offshore wind farms operating in Europe is 12.6 GW, according to the accompanying report by WindEurope. In theory, this new decision means offshore wind could power up to 25 percent of the EU by 2030.”
Industry leaders and government officials agreed to a cooperative approach to bring Europe into further reliance on clean wind energy — and away from fossil fuels — calling on the European Commission to allot the necessary funding for wind farms and infrastructure.
Floating wind farms — rather than stationary turbines — are a feasible means of accomplishing that goal, as Clean Technica details,
“Significantly larger turbines can be used, and turbines can be located further offshore in waters far too deep for traditional turbines, but where the wind blows stronger and steadier. In fact, the potential for floating offshore energy is significant, with 80% of all offshore wind energy resources located in waters 60-meters and deeper in European seas, where traditional bottom-fixed offshore wind is less attractive due to the prohibitive nature of installation and operation & maintenance.”
Europe has already made significant headway in turning from dirtier fossil fuel-derived energy toward renewable sources — particularly, wind. According to statistics cited by the Guardian, fully 2.7 percent of the entire European Union’s power on Tuesday came from offshore wind farms.
“More than ever, we need countries to coordinate and lay out a clear vision,” noted Samuel Leupold, CEO of DONG Energy Wind Power, in a joint statement. “A visible and steady pipeline of projects between 2020 and 2030 will allow for continued cost reductions, a thriving supply chain, and continued European leadership in an increasingly international market for offshore wind. We welcome the joint statement and call on other governments to commit to robust volumes.”
Beyond proffering a far cleaner method of power generation, this wind energy initiative promises to provide an economic and employment resurgence — particularly amid competition to fill the market.
“Quite simply, the future vitality of offshore wind depends on clear and consistent volumes in the market,” asserted Jens Tommerup, CEO of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, in the statement. “Visible and reliable deployment targets will unleash investments and competition in the market. And they will drive technological breakthroughs and the continued globalisation of the industry.”
Demands from Europeans to move to renewable energy no longer fall on deaf ears — and, as the market is wont, prices have fallen dramatically, plummeting 22 percent in Europe last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
As Scott Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables remarked,
“The industry has delivered cost reductions ahead of all expectations and way beyond any other generation technology. But the report released today shows we only use a fraction of the resource potential available in the European sea basins. We need to deliver an offshore wind industrial strategy driven by innovation and technology development to tap into the massive offshore wind potential.”
In April, it was revealed wind turbines in Scotland had produced and fed 1.2 million megawatt hours of electricity into the national grid — sufficient to power 136 percent of homes in that nation, or the equivalent of 3.3 million households. That notable figure represented an increase of 81 percent over the same time period in 2016.
While the initiative’s goal is set to be met by 2030, Europe has made obvious strides the United States would be wise to observe — and, perhaps, even imitate.
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