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Wind to provide half of E.U.’s energy demand by 2050

Wind could supply half of Europe’s power needs by 2050, according to Robert Clover of MAKE Consulting.

“After 2020, wind is the cheapest technology, it is scalable and it has minimal water requirements,” he said during the European Wind Energy Association’s 2013 Annual Event in Vienna.

Onshore wind in particular, will reach parity along with other electricity-generating technologies in the European Union by 2015, followed by offshore sometime between 2022 and 2023.

Supporting Mr. Clover’s opinion were a number of high-level speakers at the event, including Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency, who said nearly all onshore wind projects in the E.U. will be fully competitive with gas over coming years.

Conversely, other speakers in the event argue that significant barriers have to be overcome in order to expand wind power in the region.

“Long and complex” permitting procedures for both renewable projects and grid expansion, as well as public acceptance issues will remain a problem, noted Jean-Philippe Roudil from utility operator RTE in France.

Meanwhile, Anni Podimata, Vice-President of the European Parliament, stressed that economic problems Europe is currently facing, such as the sluggish economic expectations for this year and rising youth unemployment could impact the renewable sector.

“However despite the crisis renewables remain one of the most dynamic sectors in Europe,” she noted.

Similar to Europe’s economy, the wind sector is experiencing difficulties, including inconsistencies in government support and a significant decline in bank lending to wind power.

Institutional investors such as insurance firms and pension funds are increasing their investments in wind, offsetting the drop in bank lending, said Tom Murley of private equity firm HG Capital. However, the trend is not growing rapid enough to boost finance assistance to the sector. – EcoSeed Staff



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