Wind power may reduce EU emissions by 30%

2011-12-02 00:00

THE use of wind power could meet up to 70% of the pledges made at COP15 in Copenhagen on the basis of current growth rates and projections for 2020.

Remi Gruet, European Wind Energy Association’s (EWEA) senior advisor on Climate and Environment, said the contribution of wind power shows it is possible for the European Union to move from a 20% to a 30% emissions reduction target by 2020.

Gruet was speaking at the presentation of the wind energy and EU climate policy report at COP17 in Durban yesterday.

The report said the EWEA has been monitoring wind energy installations and production since 1985 and is producing scenarios on the sectors likely evolution to 2020, 2030 and 2050.

Its “baseline” scenario sees wind power meeting 15,7% of electricity consumption in the EU in 2020.

Its “high” scenario would see it account for 18,5%.

Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), said there is now a downward price pressure on wind power infrastructure.

“Wind is now competitive with any other form of energy without pricing supports.”

Sawyer said China is in the lead with regard to the implementation of wind power projects with the U.S. “a distant second; if you combine all the EU countries they come in second”.

“Wind and other renewable technologies are playing a larger role than anyone could have anticipated a few years ago.

“But we need ambitious reduction targets in order to reach our full potential and spur the measures necessary to close the emissions gap,”Sawyer said.

“We have five years to turn the tide, or reaching the two degrees celsius target could be practically out of reach.”

New wind power markets are opening up all the time, said Sawyer.

“For the first time 2010 saw more investment in wind power outside the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] member countries than inside.”

In Latin America, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay were strong markets while in Africa, Morocco and Egypt are the main investors so far.

“Now the first wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa has come online in Kenya and two projects in Tanzania and Ethiopia should be up and running by 2013.”

Sawyer said he hopes President Zuma will announce the first tender for a South African wind project during the high-level segment of the conference next week.

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