Wind energy installations beat gas and coal

New wind power installations across Europe exceeded those of gas and coal combined last year in terms of energy capacity.

Figures from a new report, Wind in Power, by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) have shown that the wind industry connected a total of 11,791MW to the grid in Europe with coal and gas adding 3,305MW and 2,338MW respectively.

Wind energy capacity also increased 5.3 per cent year on year from 2013, with cumulative installations now standing at 128.8GW in the member states, while coal and gas industries withdrew more capacity than they commissioned.

"Europe is at a turning point for investment in renewables and particularly wind. Ploughing financial capital into the industries of old in Europe is beginning to look unwise. By contrast, renewables are pushing ahead and investments in wind remain attractive," said Thomas Becker, chief executive of the EWEA.

Although renewable power plants accounted for 79.1 per cent of new installations during 2014, amounting to 21.3GW of a total 26.9GW, the chief executive of the EWEA called for a clearer blueprint for the green energy industry.

"These numbers very much show Europe's continued commitment to renewable and wind energy. But this is no time for complacency. The uncertainty over the regulatory framework for the energy sector is a threat to the continued drive toward sustainable and home-grown energy that will guarantee Europe's energy security and competitiveness for the long-term," Becker said.

Grid-connected power can now cover 10 per cent of the EU’s electricity consumption, a 2 per cent increase from the year before.

"It's time for Europe's political leaders to create a truly European Energy Union and send a clear signal of their support for the shift to a secure and sustainable energy system. Political will on their part is an essential piece of the puzzle," he said.

Germany and the UK accounted for 59.5 per cent of total EU wind energy installations in 2014, installing 5,279MW and 1,736MW respectively.

"What we've seen in 2014 is a concentration of the industry in key countries," said Becker, adding that markets in eastern and southern Europe continue to struggle “in the face of erratic and harsh changes in the policy arena”.

“We expect this concentration to continue into 2015.”

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