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Too few exports

Europe's renewable energy industry has not achieved the volume of exports it should have, believes John Bonda from the European Renewable Energy Export Council (EREEC). He concedes, though, that the wind industry has fared far better in this area than any of the other technologies. Part of the reason for Europe's dismal export record is that until recently the words "incentive" or "subsidy" were taboo, he said. It was only after GATT died that governments have talked about aiding industry and exports. Moreover, for too long manufacturers have sat in their offices and waited for orders to come in, he adds. "We cannot rely on the World Bank simply giving us a contract, we have to go out after these markets." Speaking at the European Congress of Renewable Energy Implementation in Athens in May, Bonda called for an export strategy for Europe. "The Americans have one -- it is not a very good one in our opinion -- but it is well funded." He pointed out that export initiatives should fit in with countries' technology requirements. "We have to have a geographic strategic policy where we analyse the needs and even the political context of these countries." EREEC is a good tool for setting strategic plans for all renewable energy technologies, he said. Based in Brussels, the council was set up by EU Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis last July. At the close of the Athens congress, Papoutsis announced that he intends to organise a campaign to promote European renewable energy exports -- particularly in Asia.

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