Putin cannot turn off Europe’s wind energy – EWEA chief

diarmaid williams 80x100

The President of the European Wind Energy Association has told delegates at its annual conference that the threat to Europe’s energy security can be neutered by investment in the EU’s wind energy sector. He told his audience, “Mr Putin cannot turn off the tap that supplies our wind, our free indigenous fuel.”

Andrew Garrad, making the keynote speech at the event in Barcelona this week, also pointed out with reference to the recent devastation of the Philippines, the industry’s value in combatting climate change.

He was particularly keen to emphasise how present European governmental discomfort could have been alleviated if the bloc had been more aggressive in pursuing its renewable power potential instead of continuing to import fossil fuels from its eastern neighbour.

Andrew Garrad of EWEA - pic credit - Re-News
“Mr Putin can and perhaps will turn off the tap that supplies Western Europe with oil and gas but even Mr Putin bare chested, or fully clothed cannot turn off the tap that supplies our wind, our free indigenous fuel. It seems however that some politicians would rather line Mr Putin’s pockets than agree an ambitious target for renewables for 2030.”

The EWEA chief (pictured above) said that Spain provided an example of the potential for wind power to contribute effectively to national power generation but also said the country’s complete about turn in attitude to the energy showed how vulnerable the wind sector is to politics.

Mr Garrad provided two statistics to back up his contention.

“In 2013, 21.1 per cent of Spain’s electricity was produced by the wind. That in itself, when you think wind energy in Spain only started in earnest about 15 years ago, is remarkable. 21.1 per cent is produced by a technology that is only 15 years old.

But that isn’t the most important fact. The most important fact is that in 2013 more electricity was produced by the wind in Spain than by any other source. It’s a fantastic statement to be able to make.”

We should celebrate that enormous success but there is no Spanish minister sitting in the audience today. How much will be installed in 2014? – I understand that number may even be negative. That tells you that energy is political and renewable energy is particularly political and especially sensitive to political changes. Spain is an extreme example of what’s happened in Europe over the last few years, something that’s happened in other EU countries if not to the same extreme.”

Mr Garrad contrasted the attitude change in Spanish governance by pointing to the acute need the wind sector can fulfil in tackling climate change, in light of what happened in the Philippines in December, before drawing attention to another statistic, of particular interest to a European audience.

“Today the physical crisis in the Philippines has been eclipsed by a political crisis much closer to home. The situation in the Crimea now is a wake-up call to all of us –it demonstrates the vulnerability of our fossil fuel supply and identifies another problem whose solution at least in part lies with our industry.”

“The second statistic is that every one of you, if you live within the European Union pays 2 euros a day to pay for imports of fossil fuel from outside the European Union. If you aggregate that that’s roughly a billion euros every day we are paying for outside fuels. Our industry brings energy independence and huge savings.”

Mr Garrad said the industry had also fallen victim to what he called ‘short term political opportunism’ by virtue of the fact that the natural time horizons for political governance and for energy planning are hopelessly mismatched. He also took aim at the lack of ambition shown by the European Commission in its recent document on renewable energy targets and said there was a growing recognition by Europeans of the value of domestic energy within EU boundaries.

“We, as an industry, have demonstrated that we can deliver energy in substantial and significant qualities. We can deliver on the same level as our so called conventional competition, the Spanish 2013 example is just one example of that. We are no longer on the fringes of energy eccentricity.

In his concluding comments the EWEA president warned the EU’s leadership not to persist in indulging fossil fuel’s influence on the European power mix, saying, “we are in danger of locking ourselves into a fossil future if we don’t act now.”

This sentiment was shared by Conference chair Hans-Peter Kettwig, the Managing Director of Enercon, who called on EU heads of state to deliver an ambitious target for renewables when the document comes before them in a fortnight’s time. Mr Kettwig held up the example of Portugal, whose smart approach to the technology had seen the country save around EUR750m through maintaining its renewables impetus instead of using imported energy.

For more wind power generation news

Follow Power Engineering International on Twitter

Editor's Picks

China tops renewables investment poll but UK slips down

China is now the top destination for renewables investment in the world according to an influential poll published today.
PEi

Power Engineering International Magazine – latest issue

The latest issue of Power Engineering International Magazine is now online with some outstanding news and analysis of the ...

Gas-fired power dominated UK energy sector in Q2

A combination of coal-fired power plant outages and falling gas prices saw a surge in gas-fired power in the UK in the sec...
Mike Winkel of E.ON

E.ON calls for assistance in renewables investment drive

Germany’s largest utility says it can no longer afford to push large renewable projects on its own and is looking for part...
Wilhelmshaven

Molluscs force German coal-fired power plant to shut down

The 757 MW Wilhelmshaven hard coal-fired power plant has had to be temporarily shut down after North Sea mussels clogged t...

PEI Magazine Issues



>> Current Issue           >> Past Issues

Latest Wire News

Algae Biomass Organization Recognizes Six Students With Young Algae Researcher Awards at Algae Biomass Summit

Algae Biomass Organization Recognizes Six Students With Young Algae Researcher Awards at Alg...

Perma-Fix Environmental Services Announces $4.5 Million Service Contract

Perma-Fix Environmental Services Announces $4.5 Million Service Contract

MISO Confirms Benefits of MVP Projects

MISO Confirms Benefits of MVP Projects

Magnum Hunter Resources Declares Monthly Cash Dividend on Series C Preferred Stock, Series D Preferred Stock and Series E Preferred Stock

Magnum Hunter Resources Declares Monthly Cash Dividend on Series C Preferred Stock, Series D...

Pledge to Rise Above Plastics With Surfrider This October

Pledge to Rise Above Plastics With Surfrider This October

Editorial Guides

How to cut your OPEX

How to cut your OPEX In a constantly evolving electricity market, factors such as over capacity and low coal costs can pu...

Alstom Editorial Guide: Thailand to showcase latest upgrade of Alstom's GT26 in combined-cycle

Read all about Alstom's new advanced GT26 gas turbine in the North Bangkok CCPP expansion project online with the Power En...

PLEXOS® Integrated Energy Model – Leading the Field in Energy Market Modelling

PLEXOS® Integrated Energy Modelling is an advanced software tool that employs the latest mathematical programming methods ...

Power Engineering International

Whitepapers

How to lower your total cost of ownership on DC Control Power

In this whitepaper, we look at implementing battery management solutions and how smart battery management effectively lowers the total cost of DC Control power systems and the risk of their failure...

Portfolio Optimization by PLEXOS

To achieve Portfolio Optimization, PLEXOS performs the Security Constrained Unit Commitment and Economic Dispatch using Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) to minimize a cost function subject to all op...

Evaluating cogeneration for your facility: A look at the potential energy-efficiency, economic and environmental benefits

The energy-efficiency, economic and environmental benefits of cogeneration are the subject of this in-depth white paper. The paper argues that producing electricity and heat/cooling from the same f...

The Effect of Moisture on the Breakdown Voltage of Transformer Oil

Power transformers utilize oil as a heat transfer medium and a dielectric material, together with cellulose. Breakdown voltage (dielectric strength) is one of the most important parameters of trans...

Improving Mission Critical Cooling Systems With More Reliable Level Sensing

The choice of coolant level sensor may seem like an insignificant detail when designing complex machinery such as emergency generators and cranes, but if this sensor fails, the operator has no warn...

Steps Towards a Low Carbon Future: Solutions and Technologies That Will Support the Global Revolution Required

A smart grid is becoming more and more essential as clean energy becomes more dominant. In addition, the demand for electricity is expected to treble the ability to supply it over the next decade. ...

Latest Digital Edition

  Power
  Engineering
  International
Look Inside >
Cover
Current Issue

Article Archives for Power Engineering International Magazine

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>