A breath of fresh air: The European Wind Energy Association

Wind energy reduces Europe’s dependence, and spending, on imported fossil fuels. It lowers electricity prices and emits no CO2. Over the next 12 years, Europe must build new power capacity equal to half the current total. We must use this opportunity to construct a modern power system that meets the challenges of the 21st century.

The age of wind has begun

For the wind energy sector, 2009 is above all the year in which the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive became law. The Directive gives all EU countries binding renewables targets for the first time ever, and an overall EU goal of 20% renewable energy by 2020.

But even before the Directive was passed, wind power had overtaken all other sources of power – such as nuclear, coal and gas – to become Europe’s number one in terms of new installed capacity. In 2008, 36% of all new power capacity wind and in 2009, this went up to 39%.

Wind offers a multitude of benefits. It is indigenous to Europe, so we no longer have to rely on third countries’ good humour for our energy. Wind is economically sound – there are no changeable fuel costs to pay, and the European wind industry is a world leader.

Wind is clean – it produces no harmful gases, and producers do not need to buy carbon permits. In 2009, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) continued promoting the benefits of wind. We were present in all the key energy and climate debates, meeting with decision makers and influencing European policy. We held our biggest annual European Wind Energy Conference ever.

We were regularly quoted in the media. We also increased our wind energy targets. By 2020, we believe there will be 230 GW of installed capacity in Europe, including 40 GW offshore. By 2030, there will be 400 GW, including 250 GW offshore.

Europe’s current electricity supply structure still bears the characteristics of the time in which it was developed. It is national in nature, the technologies applied are ageing and the markets supporting it are underdeveloped.

The power system must be supported by modern infrastructure technology, research and development and a well functioning internal market in electricity in which investors, rather than European consumers, are exposed to carbon and fuel price risk.

By 2020, we must ensure that the infrastructure, markets and technologies are available for the build-up of a modern renewable energy power system which, by 2050, will also provide a large share of Europe’s transport needs through electric vehicles.

2009 will go down in history for many reasons and wind energy is at the forefront of an historic change in the way electricity is generated, supplied and consumed. We are entering the age of wind.

Christian Kjaer and Arthouros Zervos, EWEA Chief Executive EWEA President

EWEA’s goals

In February 2009, EWEA updated its strategy because of the new Renewable Energy Directive, which means wind has legislative support up to 2020 and sets binding renewables targets for EU countries.

EWEA’s work centres on six strategic and political areas.
1. The Renewable Energy Directive and post-2020 legislation
• Ensure the Renewable Energy Directive is properly implemented in the Member States and that the National Renewable Energy Action Plans clearly communicate the steps countries will take.
• Analyse the wind industry’s needs post-2020 and prepare for a post-2020 regulatory framework for wind, based on 100% renewables.

2. Electricity infrastructure and power markets
• Ensure the 2009 Internal Electricity Market Directive is properly implemented in Member States. Push to split responsibility for power
production and transmission so third parties have fairer grid access.
• Ensure EU legislation is adopted ensuring that power infrastructure is planned, and developed with large-scale wind energy in mind.
• Fight for power capacity investors to be exposed to carbon and fuel price risk, through improved market power competition. Push for
a Europe-wide power grid to improve electricity market competition. Help optimise grid codes for wind energy.

3. Offshore wind
• Push for EU legislation on building more grid infrastructure.
• Ensure the European Commission, and national governments from across Europe agree a strategic offshore grid plan and prepare legislation that will allow at least 40 GW of offshore wind power by 2020.

4. Research
• Lobby for increased EU research funding and promote dedicated R&D financing instruments for the wind industry. Press for endorsement and implementation of the European Wind Initiative.
• Ensure that Europe maintains its leadership in wind energy technology.

5. Climate change
• Push for a real price on carbon worldwide. Fight for 100% auctioning of CO2 emission allowances.
• Work with the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) on international climate negotiations, promoting wind as a key climate change solution.

6. Communicating wind
• Communicate that with wind energy, Europe can turn the energy and climate crisis, and the upcoming turnover in power capacity, into an opportunity for our companies, a benefit to the environment and increased welfare for our citizens.

Promoting a stable EU political framework

The Renewable Energy Directive

On 6 April 2009, the European Council unanimously adopted the Renewable Energy Directive, which was published in the Official Journal in June (2009/28/EC). The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive sets in place a target of 20% renewable energy in the EU by 2020, with binding targets at national level. For electricity, the binding targets mean that the share of renewable energy in the EU’s power mix must increase from 15% to 34% by 2020.

The adoption of the directive was warmly welcomed by EWEA, which had spent several years working to promote farreaching, ambitious EU legislation for renewables.

On 30 June, the Commission published a 40-page National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) template, giving governments a binding framework for drawing up the steps they will take to meet those national targets.

The template also requires national governments to explain the actions they will take to develop the power grid and how they intend to streamline administrative procedures. The NREAPs will be extremely useful for the renewables industry as they will give an overview of probable market development up to 2020.

Member States must complete and submit their NREAPs to the European Commission by 30 June 2010. During 2009, EWEA met with the European Commission to discuss enforcement and implementation issues regarding the NREAPs.

EWEA was pleased to note that the European Commission will publish, by 2018, a Renewable Energy Roadmap for the post-2020 period. This will allow the wind power sector to ensure that a stable regulatory framework replaces the Renewable Energy Directive of 2009.

Strategic Energy Review

The second Strategic Energy Review was endorsed by the European Parliament on 3 February 2009, along with its six priority infrastructure actions, including the interconnection of the Baltic region, the Mediterranean Energy Ring and the North Sea Offshore Grid. EWEA stated that these are essential steps towards a properly functioning internal energy market in Europe.

New Energy Policy

Ongoing discussions focus on the European Commission’s New Energy Policy, which it is expected to publish in 2010.

Electricity infrastructure, system operation and markets

European power market

On 25 June the third Energy Market Liberalisation Package was adopted by the EU Council. National Regulatory Authorities will have to facilitate the integration of renewables into the power grid, and transmission system operators (TSOs) will have to grant electricity from renewable sources priority dispatch, as per the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive.

EWEA’s preferred approach of ‘full unbundling’, proposed by the European Commission, was retained. However, two ‘opt-out’ clauses remain, allowing European energy companies to retain their network assets, with network activities or day-to-day grid operation managed independently.

EWEA worked with the European Commission, National Regulatory Authorities and the TSOs to prepared the ground for the creation of a single European electricity market.

Infrastructure proposals

In February 2009, the European Council endorsed the Commission’s Strategic Energy Review, which contains a commitment to develop a blueprint for a North Sea grid. This is an essential step towards a European supergrid and a fair power market, large amounts of renewables and affordable power.

In June, EWEA welcomed the publication of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) to join the Baltic states up to the Nordel countries’ grid, thus enlarging the market. In December, EWEA organised a working breakfast on the BEMIP in the European Parliament, with Commissioner Piebalgs and MEPs.

The Commission published its proposal for an instrument on energy infrastructure monitoring in July. Following work by EWEA, the proposal included wind farm thresholds of 10 MW onshore and 20 MW offshore that were significantly lower than in its original proposal. EWEA will continue to push for a lower threshold of 5 MW onshore, and to retain the 20 MW offshore limit.


The new European body of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) became fully operational in July. One of its key deliverables will be a 10-year network development plan, to be published every two years and include the modelling of the integrated network.

In addition, EWEA is providing data to the OffshoreGrid EU-funded project, which will develop scenarios for a North Sea grid in 2020.


EWEA is one of the stakeholders in a newly established ERGEG (European Regulators Group for Electricity and Gas) expert group on grid connection, and is involved in the TWENTIES project, which will investigate systems with high amounts of wind power.

EWEA has taken part in all ERGEG consultations relevant to the European wind industry – see ‘What we do: producing new research’ on p. 28.

Grid codes

In December, the EWEA Grid Code working group finalised the first ever grid code format for wind farms and launched it on www.ewea.org. EWEA proposed to establish firstly a template for the code, then to adapt the existing parameters to the template.

The new grid code format will help harmonise grid codes for wind farms, which will lower wind energy production costs, help system management, and lower the cost of electricity for consumers.

Offshore wind power

In 2009, offshore wind went from strength to strength. Eight new wind farms with a combined power generating capacity of 577 MW were connected to Europe’s grids. This represents a growth rate of 54% compared to the 373 MW installed during 2008.

EU Recovery Plan

The European Commission’s Economic Recovery Plan was agreed in December. €3.5 billion will go to the energy sector for 2009 and 2010, including €2,365 million for gas and electricity interconnections, and €565 million for offshore wind energy projects. Over half the
offshore money will be spent on offshore electricity interconnections, and EWEA commented that this will enable a greater cross-border flow of electricity, furthering the integration of Europe’s power markets, improving competition and lowering power prices.

EWEA’s ‘Oceans of Opportunity’ report In 2009, the EWEA Offshore Working Group focused on preparations for the EWEA Offshore Wind Conference in Stockholm in September, coordinated industry input into the Adamowitsch Working Group and advised on EWEA’s
offshore report: ‘Oceans of Opportunity’.

EWEA launched the report at the Offshore Conference. It showed that existing and planned European offshore wind projects, if built, would supply 10% of Europe’s electricity whilst avoiding over 200 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

The report also contained EWEA’s ‘20 Year Network Development Plan’ on grid development, and a pledge for businesses to help offshore development, calling on EU and Member States to do the same.

Offshore Wind Coordinator Working Group

EWEA continues to work with the offshore wind coordinator, Georg Adamowitsch’s working group. EWEA submitted a briefing in response to the coordinator’s first annual report, and he organised a working group workshop at EWEC 2009 to liaise with the industry.

Maritime Spatial Planning

EWEA is working with DG MARE on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP). EWEA has stressed the need for a clear regulatory framework and prioritisation of offshore wind development. EWEA is also to coordinate the SEANERGY project .

Wind energy research

In 2009, in the framework of the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan – which aims to help develop low-carbon technologies – the European Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWind), run by EWEA, proposed a long-term research, development and demonstration programme for wind energy: the European Wind Initiative (EWI).


In 2009, the European Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWind), a network and R&D forum for researchers and wind stakeholders, continued its work. EWEA runs the secretariat of TPWind under the leadership of TPWind’s chairman, Mr. Henning Kruse.

In its 2008 Strategic Research Agenda/Market Deployment Strategy, TPWind had proposed reaching 350 GW of wind energy capacity by 2030. In April 2009, TPWind finalised an implementation plan proposing 15 projects to reach this target.

The EU Institutions have reacted positively to the Plan, and EWEA will keep working in order to make sure that it is taken into consideration in the funding of future European projects.

EWI sets out the research needed to achieve Europe’s 2020 targets and beyond, and how to bring down the costs of onshore and offshore wind energy and integrate large amounts of wind energy into the electricity system, and supply sufficient human resources.

EWI produced the Wind Energy Technology Roadmap, included in the Commission’s Communication on Financing Low Carbon Technologies of October 2009. The Communication proposes €6 billion of public and private funding for wind energy over the next ten years.

The final endorsement of the European Wind Energy Technology Roadmap should take place at the 2010 EU Spring Council. EWEA is also working with the European Commission on one potential funding mechanism for the Roadmap – the 300 million ETS allowances available for “innovative renewable energy technologies”.

Environment and climate change

2009 was punctuated by the preparatory meetings for COP15. To coincide with the Environment Council in October and the COP15 preparations, EWEA launched its climate change brochure, ‘Harness the wind to tackle climate change’, pointing out wind’s huge carbon emission reduction potential. Throughout the year, it urged leaders and negotiators to reach a legally-binding commitment with ambitious targets and support for developing countries.

EWEA staff members attended COP15. The wind industry had a strong presence with an operating 850 kW Vestas wind turbine at the VIP entrance, a 61.5 metre LM Glasfiber blade, boat trips to Middelgrunden offshore wind farm and a number of lobbying and media events, including a dinner for wind experts and negotiators and a joint press conference with UNEP.

EWEA was disappointed with the final outcome of the conference. “World leaders continued talking in Copenhagen rather than acting”, commented Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive. “The Copenhagen Accord boils down to a non-binding political agreement based on the lowest common denominator, brokered between the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. China and the United States went solo in Copenhagen.”

EWEA urged world leaders to work on reaching a legally binding international treaty as soon as possible, to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 30% by 2020, and the EU to keep on leading the way.

ETS New Entrants Reserve

The New Entrants Reserve (NER300) is a system of 300 million free Emissions Trading System (ETS) allowances that will help finance demonstration projects of innovative renewable energy technology and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Seven wind projects – including one on grids – will be financed in the first of two calls for proposals to be set up in 2010 and 2013-2014. EWEA lobbied for a significant share of the funding to go to wind and renewables, as well as on certain elements, such as upfront financing of renewables projects, and a fair and transparent selection process based on project quality and feasibility as well as cost per MWh, and this was often supported by Member States. The Member States adopted the final text in February 2010.

EWEA has participated in discussions on a guidance document on offshore wind power and biodiversity protection with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and others. EWEA has developed an online Environmental Impact Information Tool. This brings together all published literature on wind energy and the environment. The tool will become publicly available in 2010.

EWEA has worked with the European Commission to ensure that the Guidance Document on Natura 2000 nature protection zones provide clear understandable guidance to national governments and wind power developers.

EWEA working groups

EWEA has five working groups which meet on a regular basis.
• Grid Code Working Group
• Large-Scale Integration Working Group
• Offshore Working Group
• Communication Network
• National Association Network

More on their work in 2009 can be found in the different sections above and below.

Communicating wind

Our main tools

In 2009 EWEA continued communicating that wind power is a popular, mainstream energy technology and a key solution to the emerging energy and climate crisis.

We launched a new communication strategy in December 2009, to focus on using simpler messaging and stronger visualisation, having a more visible presence in the media, taking wind into the political, social and cultural life of EU decision-makers, increasing synergy with EWEA membership and recruiting a wider range of endorsers.

Published five times a year, our magazine Wind Directions continues to supply industry, government and media officials with a wide range of articles on issues that are shaping the sector, be they of a European or a global nature. 2009 editions focused on the promising potential for wind power and other renewables around the south Mediterranean, the financial crisis, the providers and consumers of green electricity, offshore wind, and the possible world of 2020 and beyond.

Our monthly members-only electronic newsletter, Wind Watch, continues to provide pertinent material on political, scientific and technical events linked to decisions made in the EU capital, as well as on EWEA’s activities and events, and the wind industry.

Wind in 2020 and 2030 – EWEA’s targets

In 2009, EWEA increased its targets for wind energy in 2020 and 2030. For more, see the updated ‘Pure Power’ report on www.ewea.org.


• 230 GW installed capacity: 190 GW onshore and 40 GW offshore
• Meeting 14-17% of EU electricity demand depending on total demand
• Annual installations of 24.8 GW: annual investments of €23.5 billion
• 24% of total electricity generating capacity in the EU
• Producing 582 TWh of electricity, equivalent to the consumption of 131 million average EU households
• Avoiding 333 Mt CO2 annually
• Avoided fuel cost of €28 billion (assuming IEA forecast18: fuel cost equivalent to $110/bbl of oil)
• Avoiding €8.3 billion of CO2 cost annually (assuming €25/t CO2).

Wind energy in 2030

• 400 GW installed capacity: 250 GW onshore and 150 GW offshore
• Meeting 26-34.7% of EU electricity demand depending on total demand
• Annual installations of 24.2 GW; annual investments of €24.8 billion
• 38% of total electricity generating capacity in the EU
• Producing 1,155 TWh of electricity, equivalent to the consumption of 241 million average EU households
• Avoiding 600 Mt CO2 annually
• Avoided fuel cost of €56 billion (assuming IEA forecast: fuel cost equivalent to $122/bbl of oil)
• Avoiding €15 billion of CO2 cost annually (assuming €25/t CO2)

Text and editing: Sarah Azau
Project coordinator: Raffaella Bianchin