Oceana, the international marine conservation organisation, applauds the steps being taken both in the Canaries, with the launch of the Offshore Wind Atlas, and in Portugal with the proposal to develop an initial prototype of a floating wind turbine. Various other initiatives being developed in Cantabria and Catalonia are also helping to set the stage for offshore wind energy to finally be launched in Southern Europe.
“We need the Mediterranean countries to follow the path which has already been taken by Northern Europe, on the one hand learning from the experience which has already been gained and on the other facing new challenges such as the development of floating technology”, declared Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “We will only make real progress if we continue to promote research, technological development and innovation and if the various governments decide to really get behind this sector”.
In 2010, 308 new offshore wind turbines were installed in Europe, making the total power installed 2,946 MW at the end of that year. This energy is distributed between nine countries in Northern Europe, with the United Kingdom clearly leading the way. However, there are still no offshore wind farms in the Mediterranean, partly because of lesser wind resources, partly because of the great depths close to the coast and partly because of the lack of initiative and backing from the different governments.
Oceana believes it is essential that governments and Autonomous Communities understand the tremendous long term energy potential offered by the seas and oceans, and head towards an environmentally sustainable use of resources. The enormous dependency of economies on petrol and gas imports, the highly volatile prices for this kind of energy, and the growing concentration of reserves and production being in politically unstable regions, are resulting in an alarming increase in market uncertainty. The only way to halt this trend is greater diversification in the supply of primary energy sources and a greater proportion of clean and renewable energy sources.
According to the Oceana spokesperson, “we need to reduce man-made CO2 emissions which are primarily a result of the burning of fossil fuels such as petrol. Continuing to grant permits for research into hydrocarbons, culminating in future oil rigs and inevitably resulting in more CO2 in our atmosphere and in our oceans is not in line with the climate change policies set out by the EU. If we want to halt this trend, we must continue committing to a larger proportion of the global energy supplies being provided by renewable sources of energy”.