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North Sea Countries Could Fossil Fuel With Wind

North Sea Countries Could Replace Climate Destroying Fossil Fuel With Wind Energy

Amsterdam, November 6th, 2000.: A report released today reveals that five North Sea countries (Germany, UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark) have an offshore wind resource that is three times their total electricity consumption. This report sends a clear message to the politicians heading to the United Nations climate negotiations in The Hague next week that action can be taken now to prevent further climate change.

The report “North Sea Offshore Wind – A European Powerhouse” by the German Wind Energy Institute (DEWI) reveals that the technology and economics of wind power make it ready to tap the North Sea’s vast quantities of wind energy. It also tackles in detail the environmental impacts of offshore wind parks on bird, marine mammals, fish and other marine ecosystems and sets out guidelines for sound development.

“This report shows that the same storms crippling Western Europe can be harnessed for good to power the region with clean energy,” said Dr Karl Mallon, Energy Analyst for Greenpeace. “There is no need to cheat on emissions reductions and any attempts to let this happen in The Hague must be shut down by European governments. If one per cent a year of the offshore resources of these five North Sea countries were used to displace coal through until 2012 (the end of the Kyoto Protocol First commitment period), the North Sea offshore resource alone could be saving 186 million tonnes a year in C02 emissions – equal to 10.3 per cent of their current CO2 emission rates.”

Analysis by Greenpeace shows that if just one percent a year of the offshore wind potential of these North Sea countries were developed it would provide clean power for 6.5 million new homes each year, employ 160,000 people and allow the closure of five coal power plants each year.

Greenpeace is calling on the five North Sea countries to establish a licensing scheme to open up the offshore wind resource wind resource to private industry as a key part of their climate response strategy. The offshore renewable energy is currently being held back by institutional barriers, red tape and a lack of political will.

Contact and materials available:Karl Mallon +31 6 212 768 60, Susan Cavanagh +31 6 212 969 10,

Notes to Editor: Key findings of the DEWI report: The Resource is Massive. For the five countries covered in the report (Germany, UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark) the offshore wind potential (1933 Terrawatt hours per yr.) is more than triple their combined electricity consumption (605 Terrawatt hours per yr.). The Technology is Ready: Wind turbine technology is now of sufficient size, reliability and efficiency that they can be placed in the harsh North Sea environment with confidence. Just one of the latest multi-megawatt machines is able to supply the needs of about 2000 households with a availability of up to 99% (percentage of time they are available to generate power). Offshoreis Economic: The extra wind energy (40%) available offshore combined with extended machine lifetimes11 Lower wind turbulence offshore means that there is much less wear of turbines and lifetimes are estimated as 50% greater – mean that in many locations offshore wind parks will make up the extra cost of connection back to shore. EnvironmentallyViable: The report assesses the available data on potential impacts on birds, sea mammals and other flora and fauna and finds that unacceptable adverse impacts are unlikely if good practice is followed.


For information on Greenpeace please visit:

For more information on this press release please contact: Greenpeace International Press Office T: ++ 31 20 5249515 F: ++ 31 20 5236212

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