In 2015, China overtook the EU for total installed wind energy capacity, according to statistics released today by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). China installed almost 3 times as much wind than the EU and now has 145GW total capacity to the EU’s 142GW.
Giles Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of the European Wind Energy Association, said: “China overtaking the EU in wind energy is watershed moment. It sends a powerful message to policymakers: if Europe really wants to be number one in renewables it needs to get its act together. We need a clear EU vision for renewables beyond 2020. And great ambition and clarity from individual Member States.
He added: “China’s ambition on wind now far exceeds Europe’s. Other emerging economies have also made big long term commitments. But today only 6 out of 28 EU Member States have clear commitments and policies for renewables beyond 2020. This has major industrial policy implications. Today Europe’s wind industry has a 40% share of the global wind market and the best technology. But to stay cost-competitive we need a strong domestic market. Otherwise it’ll be China and others that capture the rapidly growing global market – and eventually outperform us in Europe.
And this would hurt us economically. The wind industry supports over a quarter of a million jobs in Europe today, generates €67bn annual turnover and is the lion’s share of Europe’s €35bn renewables exports. We can’t take this for granted.”
In October 2014, the European Council set a target for the EU to meet at least 27% of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030.
Last year, the Commission launched a consultation on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive which will define how Europe will meet its collectively binding 2030 target. The Commission is expected to adopt a proposal at the end of 2016.
Click here to read the EWEA’s full response to the consultation.