Wind power in Europe in 2011

2011 annual wind farm installations

• 9,616 MW of wind power capacity (worth some €12.6 billion) was installed in the EU during 2011, a similar figure to the previous year (9,648 in 2010);

• Wind power accounted for 21.4% of total 2011 power capacity installations;

• Renewable power installations accounted for 71.3% of new installations during 2011: 32,043 MW of a total of 44,939 MW of new power capacity;

• More renewable power capacity was installed during 2011 than any other year, an increase of 37.7% compared to 2010;

• More power capacity was installed in 2011 than ever before – an increase of 3.9%, due entirely to increasing renewable power installations.

Trends & cumulative installations

• The EU’s total installed power capacity increased by 35,468 MW net to 895,878 MW, with wind energy increasing its share of installed capacity to 10.5% (93,957 MW), and renewable capacity increasing its share to 31.1%;

• Since 2000, 28.2% of new capacity installed has been wind power, 47.8% renewables, and 90.8% renewables and gas combined;

• For only the third time since 1998 the EU power sector installed more coal than it decommissioned, highlighting the urgent need for the EU to move to a 30% greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020, to introduce an Emissions Performance Standard, and to end decades of subsidies for new coal build and its fuel;

• The EU power sector continues its move away from fuel oil and nuclear, with each technology continuing to decommission more than it installs;

Wind power installations

• Annual installations of wind power have increased steadily over the last 17 years from 814 MW in 1995 to 9,616 MW in 2011, an annual average market growth of 15.6%;

• A total of 93,957 MW is now installed in the European Union, an increase in installed wind turbines cumulative capacity of 11% compared to the previous year;

• Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed capacity, followed by Spain, France, Italy and the UK;

• Growth in onshore wind farm installations in Germany and Sweden, and offshore wind farm in the UK – together with continuing strong performance from some emerging onshore markets in Eastern Europe – have more than offset the fall in installations in mature wind energy markets such as France and Spain;

• The wind farm capacity installed by the end of 2011 would, in a normal year, produce 204 TWh of electricity, representing 6.3% of electricity consumption – up from 5.3% the year before.

During 2011, 10,281 MW of wind energy was installed across Europe, of which 9,616 MW was in the European Union, similar to the previous year.

Of the 9,616 MW wind energy installed in the EU, 8,750 MW was onshore wind farm and 866 MW offshore wind turbines. In 2011, the annual onshore wind farm market remained stable compared to the previous year, whilst the offshore wind energy market decreased
slightly (-1.9%).

Investment in EU wind farms in 2011 was €12.6 billion, a similar figure to 2010. The onshore wind power sector attracted €10.2 billion, while the offshore wind energy sector accounted for around €2.4 bn (19%).

In terms of annual installations, Germany was by far the largest wind energy market in 2011, installing almost 2,100 MW of new capacity. The UK came in second with just under 1,300 MW, 752 MW of which (58%) offshore, followed by Spain with 1,050 MW. Italy (950 MW), France (830 MW) and Sweden (763 MW) are followed by Romania (520 MW).

Among the emerging markets, after Romania, Poland installed the second most capacity in 2011 (436 MW). Both remain among the 10 biggest EU markets for the second year running. Offshore accounted for 8.9% of total EU wind turbines installations in 2011.

Wind energy accounted for 21.4% of new installations in 2011, the third biggest share after solar photovoltaic (46.7%) and gas (21.6%). Solar PV installed 21,000 MW (46.7% of total capacity), followed by gas with 9,718 MW (21.6%), and wind energy with 9,616 MW (21.4%).

No other technologies compare to wind energy, photovoltaic and gas in terms of new installations. Coal installed 2.2 GW (4.8% of total installations), fuel oil 700 MW (1.6%), large hydro 607 MW (1.3%) and Concentrated Solar Power 472 MW (1.1%).

Nuclear (331 MW), biomass (234 MW), waste (69 MW), geothermal energy (32 MW) and marine energy technologies (4.5 MW), each represented less than 1% of new capacity installations.

Overall, 2011 was a record year in the EU, with 45 GW of new electricity generating capacity installed, a 3.9% increase compared to 2010.

During 2011, 6.3 GW of nuclear capacity was decommissioned, and over 1 GW of fuel oil capacity was taken offline. Gas decommissioned 934 MW, coal 840 MW and wind 216 MW.

For the second year running, coal installed more capacity (2,147 MW) than it decommissioned (840 MW). This hike in new coal power capacity highlights the urgent need for the EU to move to a 30% greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020, to introduce an Emissions Performance Standard, and to end decades of subsidies for new coal build and its fuel.

More renewable generating capacity was installed in the EU in 2011 than ever before – 32 GW, representing 71.3% of all new installations. Since 2008 renewable capacity installations have represented more than half of all new installed capacity.

In 2000, new renewable power installations totalled 3.5 GW. Renewable capacity installations have been growing almost tenfold over the past 11 years, to reach 32 GW in 2011.

The share of renewables in total capacity additions has also grown. In 2000, the 3.5 GW represented 20.7% of new power installations, increasing to 23.3 GW (53.8%) in 2010, and 32 GW (71.3%) in 2011. 302.6 GW of new power capacity has been installed since 2000. Of this, 28.2% has been wind energy, 47.8% renewables, and 90.8% renewables and gas combined.

The net growth since 2000 of gas power (116 GW), wind energy (84.2 GW) and solar PV (47.4 MW) was at the expense of fuel oil (down 14.2 GW), nuclear (down 13.5 GW) and coal (down 10.3 GW). 2011 saw a sharp decrease in nuclear capacity due to the early decommissioning of a number of reactors in Germany. The other renewable technologies (hydro, biomass, waste, concentrating solar thermal power, geothermal energy and ocean energies) have also been increasing installed capacity over the past decade, albeit more slowly than wind and solar PV.

The 21st century sees the EU power sector moving away from fuel oil, coal and nuclear while continuing to increase its total installed capacity with gas, wind energy and solar energy PV to meet increasing demand.

The wind farm capacity installed at end 2011 will, in a normal wind year, produce 204 TWh of electricity, representing 6.3% of the EU’s gross final consumption. Denmark remains the country with the highest penetration of wind power in electricity consumption (almost 26%), followed by Spain (15.9%), Portugal (15.6%), Ireland (12%) and Germany (10.6%). Overall, in a normal wind year, installed wind capacity at end 2011 will meet 6.3% of the EU’s electricity needs.