Wind Energy is Europe’s Biggest Asset in the Fight against Climate Change

Wind Energy is Europe’s Biggest Asset in the Fight against Climate Change

New EWEA report confirmed that wind energy alone could cover half of the planned target of 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Emissions that can be avoided only in the European wind energy sector are a sign that Europe needs to increase the target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from 20% to 30%.

New EWEA report confirmed that wind energy alone could cover half of the planned target of 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Emissions that can be avoided only in the European wind energy sector are a sign that Europe needs to increase the target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from 20% to 30%. This is the result of a new EWEA report “Wind Energy and EU climate policy: to achieve 30% less emissions by 2020.”

Wind farms do not emit greenhouse gases, unlike coal, oil and gas. At the same time, it is argued that the electricity market uses a marginal cost when deciding where to produce energy – i.e. the cost of adding more power from a particular source of energy – rather than full investment and maintenance costs – a wind energy has a low marginal costs (due to free fuel) and increasing production from wind energy is changing the combination of production from oil, gas and coal.

The European Commission estimates that these three technologies had average emissions of 696 gCO2/kWh in 2010. In 2010, wind energy produced 181 TWh of electricity, which was enough to avoid emissions of 126 million tons of CO2 (MtCO2).

The report stated that the EU-27 Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions by 7.8% compared to the level of 1990. At least 50% reduction can be done within the EU (so-called local reduction) while the remainder can achieved through purchase of green certificates from projects outside the EU through the CDM / JI (Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation). These certificates outside the EU are called “offset”. In 2010, EU wind energy was responsible for avoiding 28% of Kyoto targets for reducing emissions of CO2, which is 56% of national targets for reduction. The EU’s goal for 2020 is to reduce the emissions of 1113 Mt compared to 1990, with approximately 60% of emissions by “offset” and the remaining 40% of the national target. According to EWEA, 230 GW of wind power plants are supposed to be build by 2020, which will produce 581 GWh of electricity in order to save 342 Mt CO2.

The EU has no targets for the energy sector itself, but the ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) has set a goal to reduce by 21% compared to 2005 where it can be used 50% of “offsets”. Wind generators that were built since 2005 until last year avoided releasing 78 Mt CO2 as 83% of the needs of the ETS. By 2020 wind generators built from 2005 will be responsible for the avoidance of even 301 MtCO2 enough for 64% of the current goal of ETS and if the goal of increasing to 30%, wind energy will still cover 53% of ETS’s overall goal, and even 107% of the ETS national goal. This is equivalent to removal of 173 million cars, approximately 81% of all cars in the European Union.

With such results, EWEA proposes increasing the targets for reducing emissions to 30%, which is attainable and positive for the economy of EU. Wind energy will provide increased energy security and new high-quality businesses.
This goal supports the Government of Great Britain and Denmark but Poland and Italy are against them.

EWEA’s other proposal is to strengthen the ETS system and this is because the economic crisis hampers the efficiency of ETS as industry produces less CO2 due to the crisis so it was a surplus in the market, and therefore the price of CO2 fell. If, however, the goal to increase the industry will need more CO2 emissions and the price will rise again. Another way of achieving the same goal is to reduce part of the additional benefits.

In the third proposal EWEA linked the financial resources that will arise from future auctions for the subsidies in the energy sector. Currently, wind receives part of the stimulus, which means that part of the program product for free. From 2013 will be almost all the incentives to sell at auction the energy sector, which means that all member states will gain up to 50 billion Euros annually. EWEA wants to take advantage of all of these revenues to fund stopping climate change and develop renewable energy sources.

The report also states that more gas power plants than wind power plants were installed during the last 10 years in Europe. The current goal of the European Union is not in accordance with the recommendations of the UN to 2050. The cut emissions by 80-95% in order to avoid a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius. To achieve the goal of 95% is needed for 2020 set a target of 30%, otherwise it will be attained only 80% goal by 2050, EWEA said.

The European Union would maintain (and increase) their international competitiveness should they increase its target to reduce emissions, concluded the “Wind direction” report. 

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