STUDY: Windy Prospects For Europe

“Wind Force 12”, launched jointly by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and Greenpeace, is a strategic blueprint that outlines how the wind industry, currently a 7 billion Euros (US$8.2 billion) sector, is able to grow to 75 billion Euros (US$88.6 billion) annually by 2020. The report details the feasibility for wind power to provide 12 percent of the global electricity demand by 2020.

Brussels, Belgium – May 28, 2003 [] “Europe is not rich in oil, coal or gas, but we have huge wind resources and European companies are world leaders at converting it into energy,” said Corin Millais, EWEA Chief Executive. “Wind power technology is the ‘Microsoft of Europe’ waiting to be unlocked.” The study demonstrates how by 2020, 1,231 GW of wind power can be installed, creating 1.79 million jobs, with an electricity cost reduction of 40 percent and with a cumulative saving of 10,921 million tons of Co2. By the end of 2002, wind power installed worldwide reached 32,000 MW, enough power to meet the electricity needs of 40 millions Europeans. Total installed wind power capacity grew 33 percent in the EU countries to 23,056 MW by December 2002. The electricity production from this is equivalent to burning 20 million tons of coal in a conventional power plant. “The industry is capable of continuing its current success, especially given that only three countries – Germany, Spain and Denmark – have accounted for over 70 percent of the 2002 world market,” Millais said. “In these three countries, thriving industries and tens of thousands of jobs have been created. These successes could be rapidly replicated in other countries; the sector is primed for expansion.” “With the Kyoto Protocol about to come into force, some governments have been quicker than others to recognize that we are moving towards a ‘carbon-constrained’ economy”, said Steve Sawyer of Greenpeace. ‘Wind energy is currently the most economically attractive Renewable Energy technology, and countries in a leadership position now will reap the benefits as others join the bandwagon.’ In the foreword, EU Commissioner for the Environment Margot Wallstrom says that “One of the tasks we are facing is a profound transformation of our energy system over the next few decades replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies and dramatically increasing energy efficiency. Wind Force 12 shows that wind energy is a critical part of the solution and should be the basis for forward-looking policy.”
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