Governments warned, unstable wind energy framework will harm renewables goal

Vienna, 4 February – The economic crisis and austerity drives across the EU are proving difficult for the European wind sector and industry experts have warned that investor confidence must not be undermined by sudden, retroactive changes to support schemes. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has called instead for a stable and predictable policy framework to attract investment and generate growth.

Vienna, 4 February – The economic crisis and austerity drives across the EU are proving difficult for the European wind sector and industry experts have warned that investor confidence must not be undermined by sudden, retroactive changes to support schemes. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has called instead for a stable and predictable policy framework to attract investment and generate growth.

At its annual conference, EWEA president, Arthouros Zervos made the case that wind energy can be a driver for jobs and growth, “but not if government policies drive away investors.” The wind industry is expecting a tough year, with continued attacks on wind energy subsidies.

According to IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, global fossil fuel subsidies were worth $523 billion in 2011 whilst global renewable subsidies were a mere $88 billion. Mr. Birol acknowledged that the unpredictability of government policy was a major problem for the wind industry and called fossil fuel subsidies, ‘public enemy number one’.

“In 2009, the EU spent €274bn on fossil fuel subsides – 2.1% of its GDP, a level that increased by 200 billion, or about 70%, in just three years,” he told the conference, adding that, “one of the main arguments to keep these subsidies is that they protect the poor, but studies show that 80% go to middle- and high-income households”.

Greek MEP and European Parliament Vice-President Anni Podimata said that a new renewable energy target of 45% by 2030 was entirely realistic, but Member States continue to be divided. Some are instead wishing to pursue low-carbon options that combine renewables, nuclear power and as-yet unproven Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

For more information, see the EWEA press release.

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