offshore-wind

Wind energy shows 'impressive growth' in Europe

Grid-connected wind generation capacity in the EU reached 129GW in 2014, meeting 8 per cent of European electricity demand

A report by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's in-house science service, says the industry's "impressive growth" will allow it to supply at least 12 per cent of electricity by 2020, making a significant contribution to the goal of the European energy and climate package that 20 per cent of energy should come from renewable sources by then.

The 2014 JRC wind status report presents the technology, market and economics of the wind energy sector with a focus on the EU. Wind power is the renewable energy that has seen the widest and most successful deployment over the last two decades, increasing the global cumulative capacity from 3GW to 370GW. Last year represented an annual record with 52.8GW of wind turbines capacity installed worldwide, a 48 per cent increase from 2013 and 17 per cent over the 2012 record of 45.2GW.

With 23.2 GW of new installations and a market share of 44 per cent, China is well ahead of EU’s member states, which together installed 13.05GW. The EU however still leads in cumulative capacity, and its 129GW onshore and offshore wind installations enabled six countries – Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Romania and Germany – to generate between 10 and 40 per cent of their electricity from wind.

European turbine manufacturers accounted for 78 per cent of the non-China world market in 2014. In a context of high competition and diminishing turbine prices, manufacturers managed to improve their balance sheet thanks to better cost management and reduced raw materials costs. The cost of generating wind energy continues its downward trend, greatly helped by a reduction in the cost of project financing

The 20 per cent share of EU energy consumption from renewables is part of the so-called '20-20-20' climate and energy targets for 2020, which also foresee 20 per cent reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, and 20 per cent improvement in the EU's energy efficiency. In October 2014 the EU leaders agreed on new targets for 2030: domestic greenhouse gas reduction of at least 40 per cent compared to 1990, and at least 27 per cent for renewable energy and energy savings by 2030.

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