Global Economics

Brussels Embraces Offshore Wind Power


To ensure lasting growth in wind energy, the European Commission calls for development of infrastructure for better power grid access

With wind energy expected to serve as a major power source in the future, the European Commission is pushing for the further development of its potential from offshore sites.

"A maritime grid infrastructure is needed for the development of offshore wind energy. Without it, no offshore wind farms will be built," EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said at the European Wind Energy Conference on Monday (31 March).

He added: "As this is not yet in place, it must be developed fairly quickly and a central question is how it should be financed."

According to commission data, wind energy has been delivering the most promising results of all renewable energy technologies.

The total capacity in December 2007 neared 57,000 MW -- a figure that accounts for almost four percent of EU power demand. In comparison, less than one percent of EU electricity demand was met by wind power in 2000.

"We must ensure that the growth trend in wind energy continues," Mr Piebalgs said, underlining that it will translate not only into lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but also higher security of supply and more jobs.

The commissioner also indicated that he is to table an "action plan" by the end of this year aimed at outlining areas where the EU could facilitate the development of offshore wind energy.

Last year, the 27-nation bloc committed itself to boosting the share of renewable energy sources -- such as solar, wind and geothermal energy -- in overall energy consumption to 20 percent by 2020.

In January, the commission detailed how each member state is to contribute to the overall target.

However, renewable energy still faces obstacles concerning access to the grid system, while the commission also says that the administrative obstacles involved in getting the area developed remain numerous.

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