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Wind power will provide electricity equal to the needs of 86 million Europeans, deliver one third of all new electricity generation capacity and meet one third of the EU’s total Kyoto commitment by 2010.
Public policies in northern Europe are favorable towards renewable energy partly out of necessity. Northern Europe generates most of its energy from natural gas. With rising natural gas prices and limited supplies, the countries need to develop more sustainable sources of energy.
In addition, the northern European countries have signed the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement that requires them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. New technology has made renewable energy more cost-competitive. Twenty years ago, wind-energy generation cost about 20 cents per kW. Today, wind energy costs 2 to 4 cents per kW.
Wind power has been growing worldwide at about 30% per year for the past 5 years, and the European Wind Energy Association predicts that wind power could account for 12% of the world's electricity production by 2020.
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