Ireland’s Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, was in Vienna this morning to speak at the opening of the European Wind Energy Association’s (EWEA) annual wind energy event, where he told representatives from the industry how wind energy will play a significant role in Europe beyond 2020 and that investors could invest in it on a “no regrets” basis.
Rabbitte, who is president of the EU Energy Council during Ireland’s presidency of the EU, started off his speech by covering how, in Ireland, 18pc of the country’s electricity consumption came from wind-generated electricity in 2012.
He said wind energy will have a significant role in every EU member state’s national renewable energy action plan.
“The scenarios envisaged in the commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 foresaw continuing significant development of renewable energy up to 2050 as a ‘no regrets’ option, that is, an emission-reduction option with net negative costs.
“It is clear that, given its potential in so many countries, wind energy will continue to play a key role,” he said.
Acknowledging how the wind-energy industry would like certainty about the landscape post-2020 in order to make investment decisions, Rabbitte said it was too early to expect a final decision.
“Some states would prefer an overall low-carbon target without a separate renewables target while others, including Ireland, favour a continuation of the current regime. Governments need to finalise their thinking, while recognising that the content and timing of our decisions are critically important to the trajectory for renewable energy,” he said.
Rabbitte spoke about debates in Europe at the minute, including on the reform of support schemes and on the use of co-operation mechanisms.
“We expect guidance from the commission on both these topics in the first half of this year,” he said.
He also touched on the reform of markets and the new infrastructure needed to create single electricity and gas markets in Europe.
“As we increase the amount of renewable energy in the electricity mix, we need the physical ability to trade it and payment mechanisms that are sufficiently flexible and robust to respond to cope with such a mix,” explained Rabbitte.
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