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Europeans team up to boost wind power

By EARLE GALE | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-14 07:17

FILE PHOTO: Energy company RWE npower's new gas-fired Pembroke Power Station, the largest of its type in Europe, is seen during its completion ceremony in Pembroke, Wales September 19, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

Several European nations have agreed to massively increase cooperation on wind power in an attempt to mitigate the region's energy crisis.

The crisis, which was triggered by a huge fall in natural gas exports from Russia because of the conflict in Ukraine, has left many European nations clamoring for alternatives and households struggling to pay fast-rising energy bills.

The North Seas Energy Cooperation agreement that nine nations signed up to on Monday aims to not only limit the European Union's reliance on Russia's fossil fuel exports, but also ensure the bloc hits its climate change targets.

The Associated Press quoted German officials as saying the bloc wants to increase wind power generation in the North Sea from less than 20 gigawatts today to 76 gigawatts by 2030.

The signatories-Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and non-EU member Norway-then intend to ramp up production to 193 GW by 2040, and 260 GW by 2050.

The cooperation does not yet include the United Kingdom, which is a major offshore wind power producer in the region, but could be rolled out to include the nation in the future.

Ireland's environment minister, Eamon Ryan, told The Irish News the agreement calls for grids to be developed that can divert energy to where it is needed the most within the bloc.

"What we did, nine ministers coming together, is making sure that, actually, we do this in a collective, organized, properly structured way," he said. "It's central to meeting our climate targets. It's a huge industrial development opportunity for each of our countries and for Europe, and it's critical for meeting our energy security."

Ryan said the bloc also plans to ramp up production of solar power in southern EU nations, and hydroelectricity produced in countries with mountains and fast-running water. And he said the bloc will also increase energy efficiency so it craves less power.

Rob Jetten, the Netherlands' energy minister, told the AP that the North Sea will now "become the energy power hub for the whole European Union".

Energy dependency

"We've been overdependent on fossil fuels and we've been overdependent on imports of cheap energy from Russia," he said.

The deal follows a similar one agreed last month, in which European countries bordering the Baltic Sea agreed to a sevenfold increase in offshore wind power production by 2030.

The UK government, meanwhile, has said it will tackle the fuel crisis by not only ramping up wind power production, but also increasing the exploitation of fossil fuels through the lifting of a ban on fracking and by issuing new licenses for oil and gas companies wanting to extract resources from the North Sea, moves that environmentalists said will contribute to global warming.

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