Europe wind power body sees big offshore potential
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Offshore wind turbines could meet 13-17 percent of Europe's electricity need in 2030 if wind power projects get sufficient support, an industry lobby organization said on Monday.
Offshore wind installations currently account for about 0.2 percent of Europe's electricity demand, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said in a report.
"Offshore wind power is vital for Europe's future," the EWEA said in the report published in conjunction with a wind industry conference in Stockholm.
It said offshore wind projects with 100 gigawatts of capacity have been proposed or are being developed in Europe.
"If realized, these projects (of 100 GW) would produce 10 percent of the EU's electricity whilst avoiding 200 million tons of CO2 emissions each year," the association said.
The EWEA's targets are for Europe's offshore installed wind power capacity to grow to 40 gigawatts by 2020 from 1.9 GW in 2009, and to 150 GW by 2030.
The 2020 target implies annual average market growth of 28 percent over the coming 12 years, it said.
"The EU market for onshore wind grew by an average 32 percent per year in the 12-year period from 1992-2004 -- what the wind energy industry has achieved on land can be repeated at sea," it said.
To reach 150 GW of operating offshore wind power by 2030 will require coordinated action from the European Commission, European Union governments, regulators, grid operators and the wind industry, the association said.
The European Commission estimates total EU electricity demand at between 4,279 TWh and 4,408 TWh in 2030, according to the EWEA.
The association said wind resources would never be a limiting factor.
"There is enough energy over the seas of Europe to meet total European electricity demand several times over," it said.
It would require eight areas of 10,000 square km to meet all of the EU's electricity demand, or less than 2 percent of Europe's sea area not including the Atlantic, the EWEA said.
(Reporting by John Acher, editing by Anthony Barker)
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