Europe has led in wind energy since the industry’s inception and leads the way in continent-wide energy transition away from fossil fuels. However, external factors – notably the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine threaten both progress towards energy security and transition, and the European wind industry itself.
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Things threatened by inactivity on safeguarding energy security and transition are; nations’ energy sovereignty, Europe’s position as the technological leader in wind power, around 300,000 jobs in the industry, and global decarbonization of energy itself.
The white paper, “Europe’s energy sovereignty is in imminent danger: Why we need the European wind industry – and how to safeguard it” details the need for legislators to give the wind sector the status of a strategic industry, together with the implementable steps required to secure the volume of wind energy necessary to achieve EU clean energy targets.
In addition, the text points out that in order to safeguard the independence of the European wind industry, it is necessary to protect the sector and its supply chain.
It’s now or never: Europe needs to view the wind industry as strategically important in order to secure its energy independence
There is no doubt that the world is experiencing a climate emergency that requires decisive action. Renewable energy is a major player in climate change mitigation, the solution is clear; it is imperative to transition to sustainable, renewable and unlimited green energy.
So far, this transition has been slow and poorly managed. Fortunately, European politicians are beginning to realize the importance of the energy transition in the fight against climate change and Europe's independence in this area. They have made this issue a priority on the political agenda by developing a European strategy, the REPowerEU plan and the European Green Deal. Europe's governments agree on the importance of boosting and accelerating the energy transition with the main objective of becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Therefore, this white paper highlights the importance of immediate policy action needed by the renewable sector. This will not only help mitigate climate change but will also benefit the European economy by creating jobs in green sectors, investing more in a more competitive energy mix and stabilizing electricity bill prices.
The white paper discusses the importance of a level playing field, which it says is being neglected and needs to be addressed. China is building more parks than Europe, at much more competitive prices. Their market is not only gaining territory in Africa, Asia and South America, but they are starting to win contracts to build in Europe, which means that it is possible that the Asian country could lead the European energy transition.
The Chinese industry has been growing in a secure and stable environment that has allowed it to have competitive prices. As a result, it has become the world's largest wind power market. If this situation continues and no action is taken to make the market compete on a level playing field, the European market will be weakened, and the result will be a loss of leadership that means a setback in development and innovation, and a loss of jobs and skilled professionals in the sector.
For all these reasons, the white paper calls for the importance of establishing the European wind market as a strategic industry to guarantee European energy security and critical infrastructures with European technology, quality and reliability.