Athens, February [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The European Wind Energy Conference (EWEC) kicks off this week in Athens, Greece. This year’s conference is a rallying call around wind power as a “No Fuel Solution.” Emphasis is on how wind energy eliminates the economic impacts and risks associated with volatile and uncertain fuel prices, while providing an indigenous and real solution to Europe’s energy demands.“Wind power has a unique characteristic: it requires no fuel. Therefore it has zero fuel price risk, zero fuel costs, no external energy dependence and extremely low operation and maintenance costs. Wind is power without fuel. Who can say no to that,” said Ian Mays, Conference Chairman / Managing Director, Renewable Energy Sources (RES), UK, at the opening of the EWEC 2006 Conference. The days of inexpensive and abundantly available conventional energy are over, said conference notables. At a time of rising energy prices, increasing demand, energy supply insecurity and climate change, it is often overlooked that Europe is the world leader in renewable energy technologies, the most promising and mature of which is wind power. Wealthy in wind energy resources, there is enough wind energy available in Europe to power the entire continent. “By the year 2010, 20.1% of Greece’s energy production will come from clean energy. The creation of a new legal framework in combination with the new spatial planning for the installation of Renewable Energy Sources systems in areas with high energy potential paves the way for large-scale investment,” said Dimitris Sioufas, Minister of Development, Greece. “Greece ranks among the top ten places of the worldwide chart, which classifies countries according to how attractive they are for investments in wind energy. Wind power is a fast-growing energy sector, which boosts the economy and cares for the environment.” Britta Thomsen, MEP, Vice-Chairwoman of ITRE Committee, European Parliament shared some stark figures about Europe’s increasing reliance on imported energy. Today, she said, 50% of Europe’s energy needs is presently imported and that share is likely to increase to more than 70% within two decades. By 2030, oil imports would rise from 76% to 88% and gas imports from 50% to 81%, compared to 2000. “We are at a defining moment in the history of energy supply, and energy is moving to the top of the political agenda,” Thomsen said. “Wind energy, together with other renewable technologies, can provide a significant and secure supply side solution.” With the installation of a record 6,183 MW in Europe in 2005, wind energy has achieved the European Commission’s 40,000 MW target for 2010, five years ahead of time, according to Prof. Arthouros Zervos, President of EWEA. By 2010 the world market for wind power is predicted to double to 16 billion Euros per year. EWEA business forecast sees 180 GW of wind generating 12% of Europe’s total TWh requirements for 2020, and delivering 37% of all new EU generation capacity.