Boat tour to offshore wind farm

Today it was the turn of the French delegation to visit the Middelgrunden wind farm just outside Copenhagen harbour. Despite strong freezing winds and waves up to 2 metres, Valérie Létard, French Secretary of State responsible for green technologies and climate change, and members of the Assemblée Nationale including André Chassaigne, Bertrand Pancher, Philippe Tourtelier, Jean-Paul Chanteguet, Eric Diard and Senator Didier Guillaume joined the tour organised by the ‘Wind power Works’ campaign.

The European Wind Energy Association’’s Rémi Gruet gave a presentation to his fellow countrymen about wind energy in Europe and answered lots of questions from the politicians and their advisors. Also taking part were the Danish Wind Industry Association and DONG Energy.

The sea was rough but the members of the Assemblée Nationale and a Senator were not put off, and went on deck outdoors as the boat sailed almost directly underneath one of the 20 turbines. After an hour in a stormy sea the delegation finally disembarked offering hearty thanks for an interesting and informative visit.

This was the most recent of a series of boat trips to visit the offshore wind farm since the COP opened. Other trips have included American Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Chinese vice Minister of Environmental Protection Li Ganjie.

The full extent of existing and planned European offshore wind projects is outlined in a new report called ‘Oceans of Opportunity’, launched by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

"There is huge developer interest in offshore wind power" said Arthuros Zervos, President of the European Wind Energy Association. "The scale of planned projects is far greater than most people realise."

Wind energy: providing certainty at uncertain times

In 2008, more wind power capacity was installed in the EU than any other electricity generating technology. Over 40% of the EU’s new capacity was wind energy in 2008 and a record-breaking 27 GW of new wind power generation capacity came online on a global level. The year was rounded off with the EU’s agreement on the Renewable Energy Directive, setting in place a 20% renewables target by 2020.

During the same year, fears over the EU’s dependence on foreign energy and fossil fuels were exacerbated as conflicts in energy-exporting countries led to supply problems and the oil price shot up to €147 before coming unsteadily back down again. Warnings of heightened CO2 emissions and the irreversibility of ongoing climate change escalated. Then, as 2008 turned into 2009, the world found itself in the midst of the biggest financial meltdown since the 1930s and Russia cut supplies.

In the face of these economic, energy and climate challenges, Europe can count on wind for technology leadership, climate protection, energy independence, commercial opportunities, exports and jobs. The fact that it is now the EU’s main new source of power capacity and there is a secure legislative framework for renewables indicate the growing recognition of the benefits of wind energy.