IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol speaks at WindEurope Summit 2016 | WindEurope
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IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol speaks at WindEurope Summit 2016

Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, delivered a keynote speech at the WindEurope Summit gala dinner last week in Hamburg.

Dr. Birol told delegates that many countries in developed and emerging markets were realising the business case for renewables and that they were no longer a “romantic story.” Today, onshore wind is the cheapest form of new power generation available while offshore wind is rapidly reducing costs to compete with conventional power sources.

2016 has been a strong year of cost reduction stories, particularly in offshore wind, with record low prices in Denmark and the Netherlands. In June, DONG Energy was awarded the concession to build the offshore wind farms Borssele I and II. The price for the projects was €72.7/MWh. Just two months later, Vattenfall won a nearshore tender in Denmark for approximately €63.8/MWh. Both prices exclude the cost of grid connection.

Dr. Birol said that wind energy has brought costs down to incredible levels. However, he qualified this with a subtle caution for the industry not to become too complacent on cost reduction, stressing that the quicker costs come down, the more policymakers will expect industry to operate independently. Birol reiterated the need for stable regulatory frameworks to ensure the continued roll out of renewables, adding that wind energy’s share of the EU power mix could double by 2030.

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