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Europe’s energy future changed today

Date

09 Dec 2008

Brussels, 9 December 2008

For the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), the Renewable Energy Directive,
agreed today, confirms Europe as the leader of the energy revolution the world needs.

The target means that more than one third of EU electricity must come from renewables in 2020 and wind energy will be the biggest contributor. Moreover, the directive addresses existing barriers that prevent Europe from fully exploiting its largest domestic energy resource.

“Today tomorrow changed. The European Parliament and the Council have agreed the world’s most important energy law” stated Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive. “Europe has turned away from transferring ever larger amounts of European citizens’ wealth to a handful of fuel-exporting nations, opting instead to put the money to work at home and exploit our abundant domestic renewable energy resources.”

For the first time, each Member State has a legally binding renewables target for 2020 along with a clear trajectory to follow. By June 2010 the Member States will draw up National Action Plans detailing the ways in which they are to meet their 2020 targets, which will then be submitted to the Commission for assessment. They will report on how they are doing every two years. These measures will lead to real progress in the 27 countries.

“The grid and administrative barriers whose shadows loom long over wind energy project developers will finally be tackled throughout Europe thanks to the directive. Furthermore, Member States will be able to work together to meet their targets under stable market conditions, which will give investments in the wind energy sector a boost. One can only hope that the EU governments show the same degree of cohesion, commitment and clarity during the global climate negotiations in Poznan over the coming days,” said Kjaer.

The directive means that more than one-third of the EU’s electricity will come from
renewable energy in 2020 – up from 15% in 2005. By 2020, wind energy is expected to have overtaken hydropower as the EU’s largest source of renewable electricity.

Today, Europe responded to the global energy and climate crisis by adopting a strategy to further develop, deploy and export renewable energy technology to a carbon- and fuelconstrained world. The decision will also help the EU face the current economic turmoil, as wind energy provides jobs, reduce electricity costs, energy independence, imports and fuel price risks. It is a truly historic day.

Agreement between the European Parliament and the 27 EU Member States was
reached this morning following a meeting of Energy Ministers yesterday.

For a more detailed reaction and commentary on different sections of the Renewable Energy Directive, see EWEA’s special briefing page.

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