In 2010 more new wind energy capacity was made available in Europe than any other power generating technology, reaching a cumulative total of 84 GW. Projects are multiplying and there is a growing recognition that wind energy is a low-risk, sustainable investment that creates jobs, generates technological leadership, enables greater energy independence and helps protect the climate.
However, "a clear direction" is needed from the policy side to give confidence to investors as was made clear by participants to the Wind Energy conference organised in Hamburg by the EIB on October 6th.
Enabling the emerging offshore wind sector to further develop and finally meet the EU's ambitious targets for increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix is key. But, as Hamburg's mayor Olaf Scholz put it "a plan has never been enough to make it happen".
Windpower experts pointed out that the industry was still at early stages and saw much room for technological advances in the future. However, connectivity remains a concern and a pan-European grid is needed to enable a true EU energy market. Financing of large offshore windpower projects continues to be a challenge and public banks, such as the EIB, and other political bodies play a key role in providing financing and confidence. Project promoters called for more innovative financing solutions to also attract institutional investors, such as pension funds, in order to be able to "power a cleaner future".
The EIB is one of the largest financiers of wind energy in Europe.