Positive developments in wind sector

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a pleasure and an honour for me to welcome you to this year's European Wind Energy Conference, which yet again brings together numerous policy makers, the wind energy industry and other market players. I would like to thank EWEA for the invitation to chair this opening session. Introduction Of all renewable energy technologies, wind energy has delivered the most promising results in the EU for a number of years now. With an increase of more than 8,500 MW last year, the total capacity in December 2007 was close to 57,000 MW. This capacity accounts for nearly 4% of EU power demand.

In comparison, less than 1% of EU electricity demand was met by wind power in 2000. Wind energy is now increasing more than any other power technology in Europe. On a global basis over 20,000 MW of wind power was installed in 2007, bringing world-wide installed capacity to almost 100 000 MW.

There are several reasons why we must ensure that the growth trend in wind energy in Europe continues. Being a renewable and indigenous resource it has positive impacts on CO2 emission reductions and on security of supply as well as a positive impact on jobs, regional development and export opportunities.

We are well aware that if we want to keep this growth momentum, and even increase it, and to remain a world leader in wind energy, we have to secure a favourable framework for the development of wind in the European Union.

Wind power - a pillar of future energy supply

We are living in exciting times as far as renewables are concerned. The Climate and Renewable package, adopted by the Commission on the 23rd of January, is the most recent step towards providing a framework that not only promotes wind energy but renewables and other low carbon technologies in general. The package proposals aim to strike a balance between ambitious climate targets and the competitiveness of European industries. It sets predictable long-term objectives for Governments and industry.

The 2020 commitments are an essential step on the road to our ultimate goal: to reduce global emissions by at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050. Nothing less will do if we are to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. This objective is the basic driver of our policies. After the Bali conference on climate change last year, we must now advance on the agreed agenda to combat climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation and resource mobilisation.

It is clear that the 20% RES target for EU by 2020 will require a substantial contribution from wind energy. In the context of the Renewable Energy Roadmap, presented last January, projections carried out for the Commission showed that the 20% share could be reached with a 34% share of renewable electricity consumption in electricity sector, including a 12% share of wind in EUs electricity mix, of which 1/3rd could come from offshore installations.

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