68% of New European Electricity Capacity Came From Wind Energy and Solar Power in 2011

Wind power accounted for 21.4% of new installations in 2011, the third biggest share after photovoltaic solar energy (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 turbines with 9,616 MW (21.4%). Below that was coal at 4.8%, fuel oil at 1.6%, large hydro at 1.3%, and concentrating solar thermal power at 1.1% of capacity.

No other technologies compare to wind farm, PV 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 Concentrating Solar Power 472 MW (1.1%). Nuclear (331 MW), biomass (234 MW), waste (69 MW), geothermal energy (32 MW) and ocean 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.

Wind power: over 21% of all new power capacity in 2011. In 2011, 9,616 MW of wind energy capacity was installed in the EU, making a total of 93,957 MW – enough to supply 6.3% of the EU’s electricity, according to figures published today by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

Representing 21.4% of new power capacity, wind energy installations in 2011 were very similar to the previous year’s 9,648 MW. The wind industry has had an average annual growth of 15.6% over the last 17 years (1995-2011).

"Despite the economic crisis gripping Europe, the wind industry is still installing solid levels of new capacity", commented Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of EWEA.

"But to achieve the EU’s long-term targets we need strong growth again in future years. It is critical to send positive signals to investors by European governments maintaining stable policies to support renewables and for the European Union to commit to put in place a binding renewable energy target for 2030."

Growth in onshore installations in Germany and Sweden, and offshore in the UK – together with continuing strong performances from some emerging onshore markets such as Romania – offset a fall in installations in mature markets such as France and Spain. Overall, Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed capacity, followed by Spain, France, Italy and the UK.

Altogether, more renewable power capacity was installed during 2011 than any other year. Renewables accounted for 71.3% of new installations: 32,043 MW – up 37.7% on 2010 installations. Both fuel oil and nuclear power saw a drop last year, with more capacity decommissioned than installed.

Overall last year, the EU’s total installed power capacity increased by 35,468 MW net to 895,878 MW, with wind power increasing its share of installed capacity to 10.5%, and renewable capacity increasing its share to 31.1%.