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European Wind Energy Association believes wind power could supply half of Europe's needs by 2050

|Includes: EDP, RWEOY, SSE Plc ADR (SSEZY)

In comments at the European Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition (EWEC 2010) in Warsaw, Professor Arthouros Zervos, the EWEA President said that renewable energies can provide 100% of Europe’s power supplies by 2050 without any further contribution from any so-called low-carbon technologies.

Furthermore, the EWEA’s (European Wind Energy Association) Chief Executive Christian Kjaer commented that, “Realistically, wind can provide 50% of power supplies by 2050 if the necessary changes to infrastructure and markets are made”.

“The potential is there and the industry is ready. All we have to do is maintain current growth rates on- and offshore. I am also confident that other renewables can easily meet the other half of Europe’s electricity needs”, Kjaer added.

The EWEA noted that wind energy is already a mainstream power source in Europe, and it said that annual market growth has been impressive over the past 10 years - 23% on average. Importantly, Zervos commented that given the long life of power plants, the association's vision for 2050 has to be reflected in the construction of new power plants from at least 2020 onwards.

The trade association’sCEO also discussed the benefits of a pan-European grid and an integrated European power market. “A pan-European grid is the first priority, but a clear vision of, and a strong political commitment to, the long-term energy mix is also essential ... It is astounding that 24 years after establishing free movement of goods, services, capital and labour, the EU has not yet established a fifth freedom: free movement of electricity”, Kjaer stated.

Earlier this year, the trade association commented on the growth of the European wind power industry, citing 54% growth in 2009 and projecting a 75% year-on-year market growth of 75% in 2010. According to the EWEA, the UK and Denmark accounted for 44% and 30% of European capacity in 2009, respectively.

EWEA expects a further ten offshore wind farms to add 1,000 MW, representing equivalent year-on-year market growth of 75%. Last year five countries built new offshore wind farms: UK (284 MW), Denmark (230 MW), Sweden (30 MW), Germany (30 MW) and Norway (2.3 MW).

One of the key expansions in the UK will take the form of a large, government-backed off-shore wind-farm in the Moray Firth, Scotland. In relation to the major development, the UK Crown Estate held the third offshore wind farm leasing round in January.

Among the successful applicants were Sea Energy (AIM: SEA) who received sufficient acreage to develop off-shore wind farms, alongside its joint venture partner Portugal’s EDP Renovaveis S.A. (EDPR), with an approximate installed capacity of 1.3 GigaWatts - enough to power 730,000 homes.

The company was also awarded two development sites in the Scottish Round, with partners Scottish & Southern Energy (LSE: SSE) and RWE’s (XETRA: RWE) Npower unit, with a capacity of 1.8 GW.

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