Wind energy will dominate new power installations for next decade

Without any public announcement, the European Commission published new EU energy scenarios. “EU energy trends to 2030” expects 333 Gigawatt (GW) of new electricity generating capacity to be installed in the EU in the decade from 2011 to 2020.

Wind power would account for 136 GW, 41% of all new installations – by far the largest of any power technology. The Commission expects 64% of new capacity to be renewable energy, 17% gas, 12% coal, 4% nuclear and 3% oil.

The Scenario calculates wind energy will produce 14% of EU electricity by 2020. Currently 80 GW of wind farm capacity is installed in the EU, producing 5% of the EU’s electricity.

“The European Commission recognises that wind power will play a very significant role in the European electricity system by 2020, in line with current market reality, EU legislation and industry expectations,” said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive Officer of European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). ”It means that wind turbines will provide electricity for the equivalent of 120 million EU households by 2020.”

Compared to its previous scenario from 2008, the European Commission increases its expectations for EU wind energy capacity in 2020 by 85% from 120 GW to 222 GW – very similar to EWEA’s 2020 target of 230 GW.

For 2030, the European Commission almost doubled its expectations for wind energy to 280 GW, compared to 146 GW in its 2008 scenario.

Nevertheless, EWEA, expecting 400 GW of wind power in 2030, is surprised that the Commission scenario assumes that from 2020 there will be a drastic decrease in new wind power investments.

The scenario claims that the increase in wind power capacity will slow from an annual average of 13.6 GW in the decade up to 2020 to 5.8 GW in the decade to 2030. EU wind energy capacity increased by more than 10 GW in the EU in 2009.

“I find it unrealistic that after 20 years there would suddenly be a dramatic decline in wind power investments” said Kjaer, “especially given the new scenario’s high expectations for offshore wind energy up to 2020.”