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The EU pledges support for the wind energy sector

The EU pledges support for the wind energy sector

Offshore wind turbines of the coast of Esbjerg, Denmark. Photo credit: AP Photo / Heribert Proepper.

By Anders Lorenzen

Amidst the trouble faced by the wind sector in Europe, the EU has pledged a package of support measures.

Inflation, supply chain issues and rising costs are just some of the problems that Europe’s wind sector is currently facing, which are slowing down and reducing projects.

The President of the European Parliament (EP), Ursula von der Leyen, on Wednesday said:

“We will fast-track permitting even more. We will improve the auction systems across the EU. We will focus on skills, access to finance and stable supply chains.”

Some of the EU’s biggest companies operating in the wind sector such as Siemens Energy, Vestas and Nordex have all suffered losses as a result of how the wind industry’s market has been designed.

The EU and its 27 member countries have some of the world’s most ambitious renewable energy targets with a legally binding goal to produce 42.5% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Made in Europe

The crisis is particularly biting in Europe’s offshore wind sector.  Recently an offshore wind auction in the UK failed to attract any bids. The industry has told governments that it is not big enough to deliver green energy goals, and requires better policy support to get back on track, especially for manufacturers in Europe.  Von der Leyen added: “The future of our cleantech industry has to be made in Europe.”.

In 2022 investment decisions in offshore wind farms in Europe hit a 10-year low as developers faced record-high inflation, soaring interest rates, increased seabed leasing fees, as well as volatile energy markets.

The European industry lobby, Eurelectric, has welcomed the announcement made by the EU but called for increased urgent support to upgrade Europe’s electricity grids so that they can better handle the influx of renewable energy.

Between 2020 and 2030 the European Commission (EC) has said that electricity grid investments would need to reach €584 billion to meet the renewable energy goals.

There’s increased political pressure in the EU on its climate and biodiversity targets which some interest groups say are too ambitious and would affect some sectors, for instance, farmers particularly hard.

But ahead of EU elections next year, Von der Leyen has pledged to stay the course on Europe’s green agenda.

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