EWEC 2009 - EU recovery plan vital for energy sector

It is imperative that EU heads of state pass the European Commission’s recovery plan at the spring summit this week according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

It is imperative that EU heads of state pass the European Commission’s recovery plan at the spring summit this week according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

Christian Kjaer, EWEA chief executive, warned that the plan must prioritise the technologies of tomorrow and ensure a green recovery, otherwise the stimulus will fail.

The €565m that the plan dedicates to finance offshore wind will create jobs, provide new R&D opportunities to make the power sector more efficient and less expensive, improve operations and maintenance, and speed up market deployment.

The proposed EU economic recovery plan currently sets aside €3,900bn for energy projects including over €890m for key strategic interconnections in the power grid. The €565m for offshore wind includes the initiation of the first stage of a North Sea offshore grid. These measures will help unlock the largest European indigenous energy resource and stimulate Europe’s lagging economies.

US President Barack Obama’s $787bn (€608bn) economic stimulus plan offers $7bn in loan guarantees for renewable energy projects, $13bn to tax credits for renewable energy production and is putting $11bn into modernising the power grid. $1.25bn is being earmarked for research and development in renewables and $500m is going to workforce training for renewable and energy efficiency careers.

“The Member States would do well to be proportionally ambitious if they want to ensure their economies get a real stimulus and retain and consolidate their global technological leadership in renewable energies,” he added. “Governments need to offer loan guarantees to wind energy and other renewables projects, prioritising the technologies of tomorrow, otherwise their stimulus will fail.

“Indeed, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently recommended that one third of the around $2.5tr-worth of planned stimulus packages worldwide should be used to 'green’ the world economy, as this would help “power the global economy out of recession”.

The national recovery plans of the European countries do not even come close.

The EU recovery plan is now due to be discussed by EU heads of state at the spring summit on 19-20 March. The plan will then be approved by the European Parliament.

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