18 January 2021
WindEurope Bulletin CEO Foreword on the priorities for 2021
On behalf of WindEurope I would like to wish you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2021.
In this year’s annual message from our new Chairman, Andreas Nauen – which you will be receiving shortly – we refer to our Work Programme for 2021 which seeks to tackle 3 questions going forward: Where will we build new wind turbines? Who will be building them? And who will be buying the energy we produce?
The broader context is helpful to us. The EU has committed to climate-neutrality by 2050, it’s raised its 2030 climate target and, on the back of that, will now raise its 2030 renewable energy target. It’s also agreed the largest ever injection of public money into the EU economy in the form of the €750bn EU Recovery Plan. The challenge for us now is putting wind at the heart of Europe’s future-proof recovery. To create new jobs in Europe using European technology, and to support energy consumers who want to decarbonise with wind. Governments will need to support us: in particular, we need common-sense permitting rules, market and auction mechanisms that ensure stable revenues for wind farms and industrial policies that ensure we have a sustainable supply chain.
Looking back on 2020 we can be proud of the way our sector has responded to historically challenging circumstances. The effects of COVID and extensive lockdowns were widely felt. But wind has been resilient. Wind farms continued to operate as Governments saw them as an essential service. We continued to build new wind farms: onshore and offshore wind capacity both grew significantly. We continued to make new turbines, develop new technologies and to invest in tomorrow’s new wind farms. And at the political level, in addition to the new Green Deal targets I mentioned above, national Governments in Europe finalised their National Energy & Climate Plans for 2030 with reasonably ambitious goals for the expansion of wind.
Now let’s look ahead to 2021. What will be our actual priorities within those 3 main questions I’ve set out above? Here are some of the highlights …
- making sure the Recovery Plan money is well spent;
- securing the higher EU renewables target for 2030 and sharpening up some of the other rules in the EU Renewables Directive, especially on permitting;
- ensuring industrial policy supports our competitiveness, with the right approach to trade, R&I and skills;
- getting governments to support what we want to do with older wind farms that are reaching end of life – and making sure sustainability is central to our own approach to decommissioning and to everything else we do as an industry;
- and ensuring people around Europe understand the economic and social benefits that wind energy brings.
Our big event this year will be Electric City 2021, in Copenhagen on the week commencing 22 November. We’ve changed the date for obvious reasons and hope we will be able to see you all there in person. It’ll cover onshore and offshore wind, and everything linked to the electrification of the energy system. We’ll have new partners joining us for the first time from transport, heavy industry, district and domestic heating, storage and hydrogen.
Our Technology Workshop (covering resource assessment and analysis of operating wind farms) will be in Naples on 9-10 September. The call for abstracts is now open, so feel free to submit your proposals here. And our annual End-of-Life Issues & Strategies event (EoLIS) will be in Brussels on 4-5 November.
We look forward to working closely with you in what will be a crucial year for the wind industry and European economic recovery. I wish you an enjoyable read.
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