WindEurope says a market-driven approach to offshore wind is essential and cites the French market as one where the wrong approach adversely affected the cost of early projects
WindEurope says a market-driven approach to offshore wind is essential in Europe’s fight against climate change and cites the French market as one where the wrong approach adversely affected the cost of early projects.
“In the wake of the recent European elections, the European Parliament has an unprecedented mandate to expand renewables in Europe to meet the challenge of climate change. Offshore wind stands to play a major role in this,” said WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson.
“But the key point to remember is that the level of localisation and specialisation seen across Europe’s offshore industry has developed in a ‘bottom-up’ manner – driven by the market.
“Experience has shown that if you want both local jobs and low costs, it’s best to let the market work,” said Mr Dickson. “Only one country has tried to impose local content rules in a top-down fashion: France. And the outcome of this has been clear: offshore wind is more expensive in France than anywhere else and France still has not completed its first offshore windfarm.
“France can make a serious contribution both to offshore wind and the greening of the European grid. Currently there are over 2,000 offshore wind jobs in France, but the French Wind Energy Association expects this figure to reach 15,000 by 2030.
“The results from the most recent offshore wind tender in Dunkirk should be out by the end of June, and although the consultation document for the Dunkirk tender stipulates that the project must contribute to local economic development, local content does not seem to be as important as it was in the first two rounds of French offshore tenders,” Mr Dickson said.
He was speaking on 4 June when he took part in a panel on jobs and exports at the Assises Nationales des Energies Marines Renouvelables, the annual French conference for marine renewable energy. Organised by SER, the French renewable energy association, the event took place in Dunkirk as the European wind industry waits for the results of the Dunkirk offshore wind tender.
WindEurope said offshore wind directly contributes €4.6Bn (US$5.2Bn) per year to the EU GDP. This is 20% of the wind industry’s direct contribution to EU GDP, €22.3Bn (US$25.2Bn) per year. Offshore wind already supports 40,000 jobs in Europe, with many of these jobs being highly localised: blades and nacelles tend to be made close to the market.