Wind in power: 2016 European statistics

Wind accounted for 51% of all new power installations in 2016, connecting a total of 12.5 GW to the grid across the 28 EU Member States – 10.923 MW in onshore and 1,567 MW offshore.

Europe installed 12.5 GW of gross additional wind capacity in 2016. This was 3% less than the new installations in 2015. With a total installed capacity of 153.7 GW, wind energy now overtakes coal as the second largest form of power generation capacity in Europe.

Total wind capacity in Europe now stands at 153.7 GW. Wind energy covered 10.4% of Europe’s electricity needs last year.  Germany installed the most new wind power: 44% of the EU total.  Five Member States had a record year: France, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland and Lithuania. Renewables altogether accounted for 86% of new EU power plant installations in 2016 – 21.1GW of 24.5 GW.

Investment in new onshore and offshore wind farms reached a record €27.5bn.  Offshore wind investments rose 39% year on year to €18.2bn, while onshore investments were down 29% at €9.3bn.

Giles Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of WindEurope, said: “Wind energy is now a mainstream and essential part of Europe’s electricity supply. It is also a mature and significant industry in its own right, now providing 330,000 jobs and billions of euros of European exports.

“With all the talk about the transition to low-carbon, things should be looking good long-term for the wind industry in Europe. But they’re not. Government policy on energy across Europe is less clear and ambitious than it was a few years ago.  Only 7 out of 28 EU Member States have targets and policies in place for renewables beyond 2020.  The transition from feed-in tariffs to auctions has been less smooth than we hoped.  We still have dysfunctional electricity markets that are not fit for renewables.  And we’re lacking long-term price signals to support investment.”

Dickson added: “We saw strong expansion in Germany in 2016 but growth remains uneven geographically.  Over half the Member States invested nothing in wind energy last year. Policy is key, especially when we look at the longer term. The Member States also need to start defining in their National Energy and Climate Plans how they will deliver the transition at national level. The Clean Energy Package is the blueprint for this. The Council and the European Parliament need to start working seriously on the Commission’s proposals.”

2016 annual figures

  • 12.5 GW of new wind power capacity was installed and grid-connected in the EU during 2016, a decrease of 3% compared to 2015 annual installations. 10,923 MW were installed onshore, and 1,567 MW were installed offshore.
  • Wind power installed more than any other form of power generation in Europe in 2016. Wind power accounted for 51% of total power capacity installations.
  • Renewable energy accounted for 86% of all new EU power installations in 2016: 21.1 GW of a total 24.5 GW of new power capacity.
  • With almost 300 TWh generated in 2016, wind power covered 10.4 % of the EU’s electricity demand.
  • €27.5 billion were invested in 2016 to finance wind energy development. This was 5% more than the total investment in 2015.

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