Published on September 15th, 2009 | by Zachary Shahan10
Offshore Wind Energy Vital to the Future of Europe
September 15th, 2009 by Zachary Shahan
A new report says that offshore wind “provides the answer to Europe’s energy and climate dilemma” and will soon provide Europe with about 10% of its electricity demand.
Well, the report is by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), so it is not surprising that they think a form of wind energy is the future energy source for Europe. But the report includes a lot of compelling data and shows why offshore wind energy is such a promising source of energy for the future.
Great Demand for New Energy Sources in Europe
According to the European Commission, Europe’s power plants are getting older and, combined with growing demand for energy, Europe will need 360 GW of energy from new sources in the next 12 years — this is equal to 50% of current energy capacity in the EU. The EWEA thinks that 40 GW of this energy can be produced by offshore wind.
Offshore Wind Possibilities
Technically, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said (in another recent report) that offshore wind should be able to produce 6-7 times more electricity than the estimated demand by 2020 and 7 times more than the demand by 2030. However, taking economic advantages of various energy sources into account, they estimate that offshore wind could potentially provide Europe with 60-70% of its electricity demand by 2020 and 80% by 2030.
EWEA Target for Offshore Wind Energy Production
The EWEA’s target is to reach 40 GW of offshore wind energy by 2020 and 150 GW by 2030. Currently, more than 100 GW of offshore wind energy projects are proposed or being built by European wind energy pioneers and this alone should meet about 10% of the EU’s electricity demands and reduce CO2 emissions by about 202 million tons per year.
Europe seems to be planning for the EWEA’s goals and several things in 2010 are key to this offshore wind development and growth. The EWEA says that the European Commission will publish a ‘Blueprint for a North Sea Grid’ next year “making offshore wind power the key energy source of the future”; “ENTSO-E will publish its first 10 Year Network Development Plan, which should, if suitably visionary, integrate the first half of EWEA’s 20 Year Offshore Network Development Master Plan”; and the European Commission will publish its ‘Energy Security and Infrastructure Instrument’ which the EWEA says “must play a key role in putting in place the necessary financing for a pan-European onshore and offshore grid, and enable the European Commission, if necessary, to take the lead in planning such a grid.”
Offshore wind is moving ahead in Europe and it looks like it could be the leading source of renewable energy (or energy in general) in the future.
For more on wind power advancements, read:
Image Credit 1: phault via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: Keith Marshall via flickr under a Creative Commons license
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