European transnational offshore grid by EWEA

Somewhat obscured in the cascading avalanche of information surging throughout the crowded hallways and meeting rooms of last week’s highly successful Offshore Wind 2009 conference in Stockholm, was a declaration from the fourth European Policy Workshop on Offshore Wind Power Deployment.

Government representatives from 12 Member States plus Norway, brought together by the Swedish presidency of the EU, came up with a series of recommendations that pushes Europe close to taking proper advantage of offshore wind, the region’s largest domestic energy resource, while reducing the escalating climate change carnage caused by burning fossil fuels.

“Offshore wind power may provide a significant contribution to European energy supply at low costs, and with little environmental impact,” the declaration concluded.

Noting that wind energy is a major contributor to greenhouse gas mitigation, as well as being the largest source of new generation capacity in Europe, the declaration added that challenges associated with climate change also provide an opportunity to use wind power and other renewable energy sources to switch to an eco-efficient and sustainable economy.

“The responses to the economic crisis should focus on developing renewable resources. Such developments [would make] the economy more fit to grow, and less vulnerable to the oil price increasing as a result of global demand growth outpacing supply capacity.”

Among the recommendations put forward by the declaration was that the European Commission, national governments and other organisations involved in, or possibly affected by, the creation of an offshore grid establish a work plan to address relevant technical, financial, regulatory and environmental issues. In short that a work plan be developed to help guide political decisions on transnational offshore grid development.

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) believes this Stockholm Declaration to be an important step forward. It clearly takes us closer to realising the amazing potential of affordable, local, non-polluting offshore wind, and progresses cooperation between Member States to reduce Europe’s dependence on expensive oil and gas imports.

In summary, EWEA applauds the workshop participants and their declaration. That the document was released at the offshore conference, where close to 5,000 people attended, shows just how significant the offshore industry has become. And it is to its credit that the fledgling offshore wind sector willingly acknowledges there is still much work to be done.