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EWEA 2011: Turmes on wind, nuclear and low-carbon

Claude Turmes took the opportunity at EWEA 2011 in Brussels to attack the lack of binding policies, the use of nuclear power and the lobby of the “low-carbon gang”.

By Renewable Energy Focus staff

Turmes, as is his habit, used the EWEA 2011 to stir up a few topics regarding renewable energy.

Commenting on recent events in the Middle East and North Africa, he said events “will contribute to easier, cheap oil.” His argument being that democracies have a different bargaining position from dictatorships. He does not appear to be against democracies, but rather offered a possible outcome of events.

“We have to stop this low-carbon technology gang."
- Claude Turmes

Turmes was also prompted to say a few words about recent events in Japan, and the nuclear situation in particular.

Turmes said he hopes the Japanese will be able to stop the melt down, but added that “it is clear that the idea that nuclear will be important… This idea will now change.”

The paradox of big industry

Talking about big industries benefitting from the growth of the wind energy industry, Turmes pointed out that despite the market wind has created for, for example steel, a lot of big steel companies nonetheless oppose a lot of renewable energy policies.

Another big offender is large energy companies, where chairmen often would rather “have their money from the traditional energy than to embrace the new technologies.”

The association of electricity producers in Europe, Eurelectric, was also criticised: “The lobby from Eurelectric is to do things later, but we cannot wait, we must act now.”

The low-carbon gang

Turmes also raised the conundrum of the rhetoric changing from talking about renewable energy to low-carbon energy. “The Eurelectric lobby wants low-carbon targets, not renewable energy targets.”

He went on to call low-carbon targets “nonsense targets,” and added later that “low-carbon is a disaster.” The nuclear lobby is also responsible for some of the low-carbon rhetoric: “The nuclear lobby wants nuclear to be part of future investment.”

Some have suggested that nuclear and wind are on an equal footing, something Turmes strongly denied: “I hope that the events in Japan will help us to understand that you cannot put nuclear on the same level as wind. Nuclear has risks and it takes thousands of years to deal with the waste.”

The oil lobby also received criticism from Turmes: “The oil industry is by far the most skilful lobby in Brussels,” adding that “the oil industry is part of keeping renewable energy targets low.”

Turmes concluded: “Dark forces will do all they can to prevent stand alone renewable energy targets.

“We have to stop this low-carbon technology gang,” he warned.

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