EWEA 2015: COP21 faces unprecedented challenge

FRANCE: The COP21 climate talks taking place in Paris at the end of November face an "unprecedented challenge", European Commission vice president for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said at the opening of EWEA 2015 in the French capital.

EWEA 2015 is taking place in Paris 17-20 November

Sefcovic was joined in the opening session by European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) chairman Markus Tacke and French energy minister Segolene Royal.

"Paris will host COP21 two weeks from now with an unprecedented challenge of bringing a binding ambitious and long term agreement," Sefcovic told delegates.

"We need to do more, much more. We need to bring more countries on board. The governance system will ensure a common plan and monitoring system to ensure we are on the right track. If you look at the possible source of renewable energy, it's clear the role of wind is strategic," he added.

He pointed to onshore wind being the cheapest energy if the legislative framework is right, that wind is the fastest growing renewable energy, and that offshore, particuarly with a North Sea grid, has tremendous potential to provide a new wave of green energy.

Marcus Tacke, EWEA chairman and Siemens Wind Power CEO, said: "We have important issues facing us. The wind industry has seen strong growth, but that does not mean we can become complacent, this does not mean we can take anything for granted.

"Our political leaders are here. They must take important decisions in the weeks and months to come that will have a significant impact on the industry."

"With COP21 coming up, the wind industry has a unique offer. I encourage all of those who are participating to not let this important opportunity pass," he said, opening the conference.  

After a moment of silence to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks in the city last week, Tacke said EWEA could not allow a small group of terrorists to decide our industry — "which has so much to tell" — whether it should meet.

"It's a privilege for me to be here in Paris to speak at the opening of EWEA 2015. The safety of all those attending has been the number one priority," Tacke said. 

Segolene Royale, the French energy minister, told delegates about the efforts that France is making to combat climate change. "We've got to work with the industrialists in renewable energy sources to achieve what we need to achieve.

"Renewable sources are the solution. It's up to you to prove the capabilities are there," she said.

The EWEA 2015 conference is taking place in Paris 17-20 November.