Mainstream role forecast for wind power

Wind could produce one-fifth of European electricity with "right" regulations, claim NGOs

Wind turbines could provide 20% of Europe's electricity by 2020, according to a report launched in Brussels today by three NGOs. In what they termed a "deliberately conservative" practical blueprint for action, the report's backers also say that a global target of 10% by this date is feasible, even allowing for a doubling of worldwide energy consumption.

"With the political will to create the right regulatory framework, the wind industry can become a mainstream power source creating investment, jobs and providing a cost-effective solution to the climate change problem," said Klaus Rave of the European Wind Energy Association, which with Greenpeace and the Danish-based Forum for Energy & Development commissioned the report from Denmark's BTM Consult.

According to the report, success will depend on the establishment of firm national targets for increasing the use of renewable energy, removal of inherent barriers and subsidies for other fuel sources, and implementation of legally enforced mechanisms to support market growth. For the EU, which has led the way in developing wind power in recent years, this will include progress on a directive setting binding targets for renewable energy production in member states.

A draft requiring a minimum of 5% in each country by 2005 as an initial target was blocked earlier this year when Germany objected to Commission plans to simultaneously push member states towards market-based renewable energy support systems (ENDS Daily 28 April).

Today's report bases its projection on the increased use of offshore wind resources and continuing technological development. This has enabled costs in the country with the greatest per capita installed capacity, Denmark, to fall by two-thirds between 1981 and 1995. They are likely to fall further by 2020, from US$0.047/kWh (euros 0.044) to US$0.025/kWh, making wind competitive with hydroelectric power, the report forecasts.

Follow Up:
EWEA, tel: +44 171 402 7122; Greenpeace International, tel: +31 20 523 6222.

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