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June 14 2016
Ahead of the Energy Council in Luxembourg earlier this month, a collective of offshore wind organisations and firms called on EU policymakers to ensure a strong future for wind energy in Europe.
The details, including how companies would generate electricity from wind power as cost effectively as fossil fuels, were published in its pledge: Offshore wind can reduce cost to below €80/MWh by 2025.
The number of renewable energy jobs has been rising steadily, while other sectors in energy have seen decline in recent years, demonstrating a wider emphasis on adopting cleaner alternatives. As global green energy jobs grow, it is crucial that Europe follows to remain competitive in international markets.
Representatives from 11 offshore wind companies have highlighted the need to construct the right regulatory framework now to support wind energy beyond 2020 – when the current EU promise to generate 20 per cent of its power from renewable sources is no longer in place.
They have said that producing electricity as cheaply as fossil fuels could be possible within the next 10 years, but this would rely upon politicians in the EU working together to build a stable long-term market for renewable energies in Europe.
In an open letter, they wrote: “Offshore wind will be fully competitive with new conventional power generation within a decade. The industry is on track to achieve its cost reduction ambitions and will be an essential technology in Europe’s energy security and decarbonisation objectives.
“Policymakers at European and national level must set out clear visions for the industry after 2020 with robust laws that give investors peace of mind and visibility well into the future.”
Previously, offshore wind energy has been considered a more costly endeavour than onshore wind generation, largely because new projects require more planning and the construction itself is an engineering feat.
Many projects have been delayed, and some even cancelled, as skilled planners and engineers have struggled to overcome challenges, and yet projects where implementation has been successful have proven effective in producing cleaner power and cutting carbon emissions.
As we move towards greener generation in Europe, with the introduction of carbon penalties in the sector, offshore wind promises to cost no more than €80 per megawatt hour – making it considerably more favourable to coal and cheaper than nuclear energy. Much of the EU’s supply of gas is imported, again boosting the benefits of going just a little way offshore when it comes to energy.
As for the UK, the country remains Europe’s foremost offshore wind generator, accounting for 46% of the market. While many of the best wind locations on the UK’s shores have been taken, Scotland is still a viable investment for companies and with a push from EU policymakers, employment opportunities are likely to rise in the North as construction gets underway on the next generation of wind power in Europe.
Visit our energy recruitment page to find out more about job opportunities in the sector.