The wind energy sector reached 117 GW of installed capacity in Europe in 2013. This is sufficient, in a normal wind year, to produce 257 TWh of electricity and supply 8% of the EU’s electricity consumption, according to a Strategic Research Agenda / Market Deployment Strategy (SRA/MDS) published by the European Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWind) in March 2014.
The document notes that the EUR 5.6 billion allocated by the European Commission to non-nuclear energy R&D under Horizon 2020 would help onshore wind to become competitive compared to conventional power generation by 2020, with offshore wind energy achieving competitiveness by 2030.
TPWind Chairman Henning Kruse said in the foreword to the SRA/MDS that the wind energy sector and the EU’s electricity system are currently facing new political, economic, technological, environmental and social challenges in parallel with the completion of the EU internal energy market and a new climate and energy framework for 2030. “In this context, TPWind is updating the industry’s R&D priorities seeking to ensure that wind energy continues to benefit Europe, grows cost-effectively, and becomes the backbone of Europe’s electricity system,” he said.
Through the European Wind Initiative (EWI), which was established under the SET-Plan, TPWind together with the European Commission, Member States and the European Energy Research Alliance ensures that funding for wind energy R&D is in line with the Strategic Research Agenda. The EWI has a budget of EUR 6 billion for 2010-2020, more than half of which will be provided by the wind energy industry.
According to the document, this budget should be used to maintain Europe’s technological leadership in onshore and offshore wind power, thereby helping to achieve a 20% share of wind energy in EU total electricity consumption by 2020. This level of funding should also be instrumental in creating 250,000 new skilled jobs in the EU by the same date.