WindEurope to IEA Ministers: citizens and businesses want more wind energy

WindEurope’s CEO Giles Dickson took part in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) biennial Ministerial Meeting in Paris on 5 December. He addressed the Ministers on consumer and citizen engagement.

He noted the growing demand for clean energy among household and business consumers. Because of climate change. And because they also see that renewables are now often the cheapest option. The rapid growth in corporate renewable PPAs reflects this. Auction prices, such as what we’re likely to see in today’s Polish onshore auction – at 2.5 GW Europe’s largest ever onshore wind power auction – reflect it also. Wind turbines is giving consumers affordable energy prices.

But we must not forget that consumers are citizens and the energy transition involves installing a large amount of physical infrastructure in people’s natural environment. We cannot simply impose this, it is important that we take people along with us sensitively.

Governments need to do two things here:

Help ensure that local communities are benefiting financially when we install energy infrastructure in their back yard; and
Strive for happy coexistence between energy infrastructure and the other societal and economic interests that rely on the same space we want to use. Biodiversity and military interests. And for offshore wind power the fishing and shipping industries.

This means Energy Ministries need to involve other Ministries and Departments even more in the planning and coordination of energy investments. Energy Ministries cannot deliver the energy transition on their own.

At the same time, governments need to do everything to ensure wind farm permitting regimes are simple.