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Infrastructure investments key to renewables build out, says WindEurope CEO

Significant investments in transmission capacity and interconnectors are necessary to ensure Europe can fully exploit its wind resources, said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson at an event organised by the European Commission.

Speaking on a panel session, Dickson stressed that the economic benefits of new infrastructure outweigh the investment costs. The more you invest in grids and interconnectors, the greater the overall economic rewards if you align investments in renewables, said Dickson.

Alignment is the best way to avoid curtailment of wind energy in the system. Without this, investments in renewables become much more expensive as financiers demand higher interest rates if it is not clear that the power generated will feed into the grid and ultimately, create steady revenues. “The costs of capital make up the largest share of investments in renewables,” Dickson added.

Over the past two years, 70% of capital from the European energy infrastructure fund – known as the Connecting Europe Facility –was allocated to gas while just 30% went to electricity projects. Dickson called on the European Commission to reverse this trend and spend more money on electricity grids and less on gas with a special category designated for offshore wind.