So said the President of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), Andrew Garrad, at EWEA’s annual conference in Barcelona.
Of course, this was in reference to the potential European energy problems that come from the turmoil in Ukraine, but it really makes a much broader point: wind energy and solar energy provide better energy security. For one, the energy sources are local. Secondly, they’re extremely distributed. As military leaders have emphasized for years, you can’t shut down an electricity grid by bombing or hacking a wind turbine or solar panel system.
Coming back to Garrad’s comments, he stated: “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.”
He also added: “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.”
Diarmaid Williams of Power Engineering International noted that Garrad also discussed how renewables such as wind help to tackle global warming and the catastrophic effects of climate change, referencing the Philippines in particular. But he emphasized that Garrad put more focus on the story surrounding the Ukraine than anything else. Garrad wrote: “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.”