WindEurope 2017: Catto makes economic case for wind

NETHERLANDS: The wind industry contributed €36 billion (0.26%) to the European Union's (EU) gross domestic product in 2016, according to WindEurope chairman, Ivor Catto, who made the economic case for wind power as it faces uncertainty in the next decade.

WindEurope chairman and RES CEO, Ivor Catto, addresses delegates at WindEurope 2017 conference and exhibition

In the opening address to the WindEurope 2017 conference and exhibition taking place in Amsterdam (28-30 November) Catto, who is also CEO of renewables all-rounder RES Group, said the European wind industry was at risk of losing its leading global position in wind.

"As an industry, we can't rest on our progress. Only eight of the 28 member states [in the EU] have a renewable energy policy beyond 2020," Catto told delegates.

Wind markets outside of Europe are growing rapidly, creating more competition from supply chains in these emerging markets. The industry is already seeing job growth in Europe "stagnate", Catto added.

Coinciding with the lauch of WindEurope 2017, the trade body has released a new report "Local impact, global leadership". The research, conducted in partnership with financial services firm Deloitte, highlights the economic benefits of the wind industry.

Between 2011 and 2016, every €1,000 of revenue in the industry, created €250 of economic activity in other sectors, the report claimed.

Catto also laid out his wish list for the forthcoming EU Clean Energy Package.

First, he called on the member states to set a renewable energy target of 35% by 2030, which WindEurope said could see wind capacity grow to 323GW.

Catto also said governments need to put together renewable energy policy plans to 2030, which spell out the deployment rate of renewables, how they plan to enhance integration and policy surrounding repowering.

Member states should also give a three-year deployment visibility, setting forth long-term budgets and market size to enable developers more time to plan ahead. "With visibility comes cost-effective deployment and a lower cost to the consumer," Catto said.

Fourth, Catto called on the policymakers to retain priority dispatch for renewables, especially for existing projects, which have business cases built on this.

Finally, Catto said the transmission networks should embrace technologies that provide grid balancing. "By embracing technologies that absorb or shed peak loads, we can defer grid upgrades," he said.

Windpower Monthly is exhibiting at the show. Please drop by our stand (1A60) for more information.