A new narrative for Europe

This year’s European Business Summit invited EU thought leaders to discuss Europe’s future. Around 2,500 delegates listened to 200 speakers on this two-day highlight in Brussels. WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson deliberated in a panel with European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia and representatives from the steel, engineering and ICT sectors.

Energy has been at the heart of the European project right from the start and collaboration helped rebuilding a war-torn continent. Europe now faces different challenges which, once again, energy can help overcome. Progress, however, requires that the industrial and technology reality matches the green rhetoric.

Dickson stressed that wind power brings Europe closer to a competitive low-carbon economy. Today’s share of over 10% of Europe’s electricity demand is expected to climb to around a quarter by 2030. Dickson made clear that wind power now needs less support but revenue stabilisation as many markets are distorted. Globally, the European wind industry has a 40% share of turbine sales and exported €11bn last year. Such developments have made wind power the cheapest form of new power generation in many places whilst strengthening the competitiveness of Europe and its industries.

The energy transition is a huge circular undertaking. One the one hand, steel makes wind turbines possible. On the other hand, the transport and automotive sector cut emissions thanks to clean energy. Vincent Pang, President of Huawei Western European Region, nodded when Dickson said, “We should mainstream digital engineers and break down barriers to allow cross-sectoral collaboration”.
Digitalising the power system facilitates integrating wind power and gives consumers the necessary flexibility when they use electricity. Governments need to provide stable frameworks and the right incentives to make Europe a leader in smart energy, e-mobility and renewables.

Much like 60 years ago, Europeans are in need of a narrative with which they can identify. Collaborating on clean energy could be that narrative.