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Wind Campaign - An INFORSE Proposal for Western Europe
An INFORSE Proposal Wind Power for Western Europe, for 2000-2020
By Gunnar Boye Olesen, International Network for Sustainable Energy - Europe (INFORSE-Europe)
September 2000

This report gives an overview of how it is possible to realise the Western European part of the global target of 10% windpower in the world's electricity production by the year 2020. This target is taken up by INFORSE, as well as by Greenpeace International, European Wind Energy Association, Forum for Energy and Development of Denmark, and others.

To be operational, the global target must be divided into regional and national targets. The regional target for Western Europe is set to 220,000 MW of windpower, producing some 600 TWh/year, equal to 25% of the regions electricity demand in 1995. A proposal of how this could be divided into national targets for 2020 and 2010 is made in this report. In this proposal, 1/3 of the capacity is assumed to be off-shore in 2020, and the rest is distributed among the EU-countries + Norway.

An economic evaluation shows that compared with large, efficient, combined-cycle gas turbines, the development of 220,000 MW of wind power has a positive net present value, i.e. it is cost-effective, even without environmental costs. The calculation shows a positive value of $EUR 89 billion, equal to $EUR 400  per kW of the 220,000 MW, to be installed until 2020. The calculation is quite sensitive to the gas price development, which is taken from the IEA 1998-forecast. The economic evaluation is made with considerable uncertainty, of which some parts can be reduced with further studies (e.g. availability of sites), while other parts are by nature impossible to estimate with precision (e.g. future gas prices). However it is safe to conclude that there probably will be a positive contribution to the economy from the proposed investment, and if environmental costs are included this positive contribution will probably be large.

The development is found to generate substantial employment: 180,000 people would work in the wind energy industry in Western Europe by 2020, and a total effect for the society would be probably above 250,000 jobs generated by the production and maintenance of windturbines.
The windturbines will reduce CO2 emissions by 80 mill tons/year in the Kyoto budget period of 2008-2012 and 320 mill t/year in 2020, if they replace a mix of 60% gas power and 40% coal power. This is equal to respectively 2.5% and 10% of present CO2 emissions of EU+Norway.

To reach the goal of 220,000 MW windpower it is important to establish policies to support the development, locally, nationally and in EU. The experience of the last decades have shown that a development has taken place only in countries with a political commitment for windpower and other renewable energies. For the support of windpower development in Western Europe this report proposes:
* to ensure local support for and involvement in the development of windpower

* to establish an enabling market framework, with stable prices for wind electricity and grid access.

* to include sites for windpower in land-use planning

* to set national and regional targets, e.g. for 2005, 2010 and 2020

* to stop EU's preferential treatment of atomic and coal energy over windpower and other renewable energy sources

* to remove environmentally harmful subsidies

* to include environmental costs in energy costs

* to support research, development, and dissemination activities

To support other regions to develop their windpower sector, this report proposes:
* to include of windpower technologies as part of national official assistance programs.

* that international treaties' provision for transfer of technologies (e.g. climate convention art. 4.1) are used for transfer of windpower technologies.

* that international assistance programs (EUís PHARE & TACIS, UNDP etc.) give priority to windpower

* that multilateral development banks give priority to windpower in their energy sector lending.

This report is based on the recent report on how to reach 10% windpower globally "Wind Force 10, - A Blueprint to Achieve 10% of the World's Electricity from Wind Power by 2020", European Wind Energy Association, Forum for Energy & Development, and Greenpeace International, October 1999.

List of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Goals for Western Europe
3. Economy, Employment and Environment
4. Policies to Achieve the Goal

Annex 1. National Division of 220,000 MW Windpower in Western Europe
Annex 2. Economic Calculations for the Development of Windpower in Western Europe
Annex 3. Employment from 220,000 MW Windpower in Western Europe

Draft Targets

Target years EU-15
land-based Others, land-based Off-shore Total
Target years
Others, land-based
54,000 MW
3,000 MW
9,000 MW
66,000 MW
140,000 MW
10,000 MW
70,000 MW
220,000 MW
TABLE: Indicative targets for Western Europe (OECD-Europe). These targets are  in line with the 10% worldwide target.

The targets for Western Europe must be broken down into national targets to be operational. National targets have to be agreed on national level, based on national discussions and planning (as proposed in chapter 4 of the report). An example of national targets corresponding to the regional targets for 2010 and 2020 is given in the report.

Read the report (222 kB word.doc) , excluding annexes. If you have comments, please send them to, and please state the source, if you want to quote the report.

Order the report on paper with annexes (100 DKK or 14 EUR including postage and handling): email:

Annexes are available for NGOs on spredsheet for further elaboration. Please send requests by email to:
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