Wind energy in Europe: wind power barometer

Key data for the 27 European Member States:

•Cumulative wind energy electricity production: 172.1 TWh in 2011 (149.1 TWh in 2010)
•Offshore wind power capacity installed in 2011: 788.1 MW (1139.9 MW in 2010)
•Cumulative offshore wind power capacity at end of 2011: 3820.1 MW (3032.0 MW end 2010)

European Union wind power market in a slowdown: wavering between the flagging onshore wind farm market and the huge and promising offshore wind turbines market Notwithstanding the economic crisis affecting most of the globe’s major economies, wind energy continues to gain supporters around the world.

Global wind power capacity increased by 40.5 GW between 2010 and 2011 compared to a 39 GW rise between 2009 and 2010, after deduction of decommissioned capacity. By the end of 2011 global installed wind turbine capacity should stand at around 238.5 GW, and much of the world’s growth is being driven by capacity build-up in the emerging markets. In contrast some of the key wind energy markets may be showing fault lines.

EurObserv’ER puts the year’s installed capacity at about 9 367.7 MW, a drop on its 2010 performance (9 951.6 MW). Total European Union wind energy capacity should settle at 94.1 GW, which equates to EurObserv’ER provides 187.2 kW of capacity per 1 000 inhabitants (graph 3). Taking the number of inhabitants as the yardstick, the top three ranked wind energy producer countries are Denmark (706.2 kW per 1 000 inhab.), Spain (469.6 kW per 1 000 inhab.) and Portugal (403.4 kW per 1 000 inhab.).

EurObserv’ER found that offshore wind energy fared worse in 2011 than in 2010 with 788.1 MW installed as against 1 139.9 MW installed in 2010. By the end of 2011 European Union offshore wind energy capacity had risen to 3 820.1 MW.

After the disappointments of 2010, wind power production expectations were met in 2011. According to EurObserv’ER, they should exceed 172 TWh (EU-27), which equates to a 15.5% year-on-year increase (149.1 TWh in 2010).

The EurObserv’ER Barometer regularly publishes indicators reflecting the current dynamics in renewable energies (solar power, wind energy, hydropower, geothermal energy and biomass, biogas, biofuels) worldwide and within the European Union.