Wind energy set to triple by 2020 in EU

The world installed almost 50% more new wind energy capacity in 2010 alone (38.3 GW) than it installed new nuclear capacity in the last decade (26.1 GW). According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), 38.3 GW of wind farm capacity was installed globally during 2010, reaching a total of 197 GW by the end of the year.

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) published its scenarios for onshore and offshore wind farm deployment in the EU, ahead of the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050, due to be published later this year. "Wind energy will more than triple its power output by 2020 with 194 billion Euros invested in European onshore and offshore wind farm plants in this decade", said Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of EWEA. "This success is mainly driven by a strong EU regulatory framework to 2020, which we need also after 2020".

"Wind power will not only make a very substantial contribution to meeting Europe’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It strongly accelerates a shift away from expensive fossil fuels, creates jobs, makes Europe more competitive, and provides secure and renewable power production in Europe", said Wilkes.

Electricity production from wind turbines is expected to increase from 182 Terawatt hours (TWh) or 5.5% of the total EU demand in 2010, to 581 TWh or 15.7% of the total demand in 2020.

By 2020 the electricity production from wind energy will be equivalent to the total electricity consumption of all households in France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom together.

By 2030 1,154 TWh (28% of total demand) would be produced by wind power, more than the EU’s predicted 241 million private households are expected to consume in 2030. Today, wind power produces electricity equivalent to the consumption of 50 million average EU households (1).

EWEA’s "Pure Power" report shows that the 27 EU Member States will have very different increases in wind farm capacity over the coming years.(2)

Increase in wind power capacity by EU Member State from end 2010 to 2020

Factor by which wind power capacity will increase and % of the country’s electricity demand by 2020 (these figures represent EWEA’s baseline scenario for 2020, % rounded).

Austria: x 3.5 (10%) Belgium: x 4.3 (10%) Bulgaria: x 8 (18%)
Cyprus: x3.6 (12%) Czech Republic: x 7.4 (4%) Denmark: x 1.6 (38%)
Estonia: x 3.4 (11%) Finland: x 9.6 (5%) France: x 4 (11%)
Germany: x 1.8 (17%) Greece: x 5.4 (23%) Hungary: x 3 (4%)
Ireland: x 4.2 (52%) Italy: x 2.7 (9%) Latvia: x 6.4 (5%),
Lithuania: x 6.5 (18%) Luxembourg: x 7.1 (7%) Malta: 0 to 100 MW(8%)
Netherlands: x 4.2 (20%) Poland: x 9.5 (14%) Portugal: x 1.9 (28%)
Romania: x 6.5 (10%) Slovakia: 3 to 800 MW (5%) Slovenia: 0 to 500 MW (6%)
Spain, x 1.9 (27%) Sweden: x 4 (15%) United Kingdom: x 5 (19%)

EU-27: x 2.7 (16%)

(1) According to the EC PRIMES model, an average EU household’s consumption is 3.76 MWh in 2010.

(2) EWEA’s assumption of EU installed wind power of 230 Gigawatts (GW) by 2020 is "conservative". It does not differ much from those presented by 27 EU Member States in their "national action plans" with a total of 213 GW. The European Commission similarly assumes 222 GW of installed wind farm capacity by 2020.

The global annual market for wind turbines decreased by 1.3% in 2010, following growth of 46% in 2009, 37% in 2008 and 31% in 2007. Over the past five years, the annual market for wind turbines has grown by 151% from 15.2 GW in 2006 to 38.3 GW in 2010. The total installed wind farm capacity increased from 74 GW to 197 GW over the same period.

Around the world, wind energy continues to expand rapidly, and follows a similar development path to other power sources that are now mainstream.

Looking at the last decade, global new wind power capacity has by far exceeded new nuclear power capacity. The world installed almost 50% more new wind power capacity in 2010 alone (38.3 GW) than it installed new nuclear capacity in the last decade (26.1 GW).

In the past five years – from 2006 to 2010 – 139 GW of new wind power capacity was built globally compared to 8 GW of new nuclear capacity. 139 GW of new wind power capacity produces electricity equivalent to 52 nuclear power reactors, or 41.5 GW of nuclear capacity.

The wind power capacity installed globally in 2009 and 2010 (77 GW), produces electricity equivalent to 29 nuclear power plants. Therefore, in electricity production terms, the wind power industry installed the equivalent of 1.2 nuclear power plants per month over the past two years.