How Europe can go about achieving CO2 targets

8 Nov 2011

The Val Lumnezia (Valley of Light), a Swiss high Alpine valley, which will be the location of Switzerland's planned 2012 wind farm. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

As Switzerland becomes the latest country to plan a giant wind farm, the European Wind Energy Association is holding an event in Brussels this evening about how the EU can go about achieving 30pc lower emissions in the EU, looking at the role of wind energy as well as other renewables, like solar.

Switzerland is to build between 40 and 60 wind turbines in the Val Lumnezia rural region in 2012. The Val Lumnezia (Valley of Light) is a Swiss high Alpine valley.

The wind farm will be more than 10 times larger than the one Switzerland currently operates. Earlier this year, Switzerland followed Germany’s take on nuclear power following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011. Switzerland is resolving to decommission all of its nuclear reactors by 2035, and instead embrace renewable energy sources such as wind. For instance, it’s aiming to glean 600 million kilowatt-hours from wind power by 2020 – an ambitious target.

Tomorrow, the EWEA will publish its latest Wind Energy and EU Climate Policy, evaluating emissions avoided from wind power in the EU, and wind energy’s contribution to ETS, EU- and UN-level targets.

This evening in Brussels EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, Minister Martin Lidegaard, Jo Leinen MEP and Josche Muth will present their views on the contribution of wind energy and other renewables to climate objectives.

The panelists will also discuss the current climate policy framework, in particular the possibility of setting-aside allowances within the ETS to ensure high prices of carbon and the future of the Kyoto Protocol at the upcoming COP17.

Key findings from the EWEA report:

  • In 2010, wind energy avoided up to 28pc of the EU’s Kyoto emissions reduction target
  • Wind energy will avoid as much as 31pc of the EU-wide objective by 2020.
  • EWEA climate policy recommendations for the EU to 2020 include moving to a 30pc domestic reduction target, tightening the emissions trading system to avoid oversupply and a low CO2 price and committing 100pc of ETS auctioning revenue to finance climate mitigation.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic