EWEA chief slams European policy

Thomas Becker doesn’t bother disguising his contempt for Europe’s energy policy.

“Nothing more than a redistribution of wealth to already very wealthy clans in the Middle East and Russia”, he calls it.

“Instead of investing millions of euros in the development of renewable technologies and the creation of thousands of new European jobs, we choose to spend it on fossil-fuel imports from politically risky regions,” the EWEA chief executive tells Recharge.

As fears grow over the energy implications of Moscow’s confrontation with Ukraine, Becker’s call for the EU to loosen its dependence on Russian fossil fuel could hardly be more timely.

EWEA is counting on Europe’s politicians to do the right thing on renewables. For an example of where politicians have got it catastrophically wrong, look no further than Spain.

Becker describes Madrid’s energy policy as “quite disastrous towards wind”, and “nothing to do with rational thinking”, with the government apparently convinced that renewables are one of the causes of their economic crisis”.

“We consider Spain a lost cause and we don’t want to spend too much of our time on the present government in that country. We have tried, having had several meetings with them, but we haven’t made much progress”.

The big fear now is that other countries will start emulating Spain’s retroactive cuts to green subsidies. EWEA’s lawyers are meeting the European Commission (EC) to discuss how to prevent the problem spreading.

Meanwhile, Europe risks losing its global lead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions if it does not adopt a 30% renewable-energy target for 2030, Becker warns. The wind industry is “disappointed” by the EC blueprint for EU climate and energy policy to 2030, which recommends a 27% renewables goal, non-binding on individual member countries.

Becker strongly urges the 28 EU heads of government, due to meet on 20-21 March, to set their sights higher and vote for a 30% nationally binding renewables target as the best way to promote green growth, jobs and industrial leadership.

“We doubt a 27% renewables target, binding only at an EU level, can benefit Europe by driving the investments and growth in the wind-power sector,” he says.