Wind power in the European Union

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Share of wind power in total electricity demand in Europe in 2017
  > 40 %
  20-30 %
  10-20 %
  < 10 %
The Fântânele-Cogealac Wind Farm is the largest onshore wind farm in Europe. Located in southeastern Romania, it consists of 240 turbines, with a capacity of 600 MW.[1]

As of December 2017, installed capacity of wind power in the European Union totaled 169,3 gigawatts (MW). In 2017, a total of 15,680 MW of wind power was installed, representing 55% of all new power capacity, and the wind power generated 336 TWh of electricity, enough to supply 11.6% of the EU’s electricity consumption.[2]

In the future, wind power is likely to continue to grow in the European Union. According to a European Environment Agency report, wind energy can play a major role in achieving the European renewable energy targets.[3]

The European Wind Energy Association (now WindEurope) has estimated that 230 gigawatts (GW) of wind capacity will be installed in Europe by 2020, consisting of 190 GW onshore and 40 GW offshore. This would produce 14-17% of the EU's electricity, avoiding 333 million tonnes of CO2 per year and saving Europe €28 billion a year in fuel costs.[4][5]

Research from a wide variety of sources in various European countries shows that support for wind power is consistently about 80 per cent among the general public.[6]

By country[edit]

Denmark[edit]

Offshore wind turbines near Copenhagen

Wind power in Denmark provides some 39 percent of Danish domestic electricity[7][8] and Denmark is a leading wind power nation in the world. The Danes were pioneers in developing commercial wind power during the 1970s and today almost half of the wind turbines around the world are produced by Danish manufacturers such as Vestas and Siemens Wind Power.[9]

The Danish wind turbine industry is the world’s largest and 90% of the wind turbines manufactured in Denmark are sold to international markets. In 2003, the Danish manufacturers had a total world market share of approximately 38%, generating a combined turnover of almost 3 billion Euro and maintaining over 20,000 people employed in the industry, from wind turbine factories to maintenance and research.[9]

The development of wind power in Denmark has been characterised by a close collaboration between publicly financed research and industry in key areas such as research and development, certification, testing, and the preparation of standards.[8]

Estonia[edit]

Wind farm of Hanila, Lääne County

As of 2013, the installed capacity of wind power in Estonia was 269.4 MW,[10] while roughly 1466.5 MW[11] worth of projects are currently being developed and three major offshore projects with total capacity of 1490 MW are being planned. Estonia, as a country, which is widely open to the sea and has a flat territory, possesses a very high potential for the development of wind energy.[12]

According to a survey carried out by the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, 95% of the respondents considered wind power as the most environmentally friendly way to produce energy.[13]

Germany[edit]

Wind power plays an important role in Germany's renewable energy mix. In October 2014, the installed domestic capacity amounted to 35,678 megawatts, of which offshore contributed 616 MW.[14]

In 2014, wind generated more than 51 terawatt-hours of electricity and contributed about 9.7% to the nations total net-generated electricity. This is 1.3% more than the year before. December 2014 was the best month, generating 8.9 TWh and on par with record-breaking month of December 2011. Along with the generated electricity of 18.5 TWh (3.5%) from hydro, 32.8 TWh (6.2%) from solar, and 54 TWh (10.0%) from biomass, all four renewable energy sources generated 154 TWh or about 30% of the nation's total net-generation. Electricity production from combined wind and solar has now achieved almost the level of nuclear power (84.2 TWh vs. 91.8 TWh).[15]

More than 21,607 wind turbines are located in the German federal area and the country has plans to build more wind turbines.[16][17] As of 2011, Germany's federal government is working on a new plan for increasing renewable energy commercialization,[18] with a particular focus on offshore wind farms.[19]

Greece[edit]

Wind power in Greece was due to expand by 352% by 2010 to meet the European target of 20% coverage of energy needs from renewable sources. Previously, there were 1,028 wind turbines installed throughout Greece and the number was set to reach 2,587 wind turbines before the end of 2010.[20]

According to the Ministry of Environment and Public Works, the system would have a nameplate capacity of 3,372MW of power from wind alone compared to 746MW at the end of 2006.[21] Greece chose to invest primarily to wind power by 77%, while the rest of renewable sources altogether comprise the remaining 23% of production with hydroelectric power being second with 11%.[22][23]

Ireland[edit]

Ireland is the best location in Europe for wind power as it is situated on the Western edge of Europe and is exposed to high winds from the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea. Wind power capacity factors tend to be higher in Ireland than anywhere else. By the end of 2014 the installed capacity of wind power in Ireland was 2,111 megawatts,[24] generating 19% of Ireland's electrical power.

Most wind farms in Ireland are located in coastal regions and especially in the West of Ireland. However, the Irish Sea is getting some attention and the first offshore wind farm in Ireland is located a few kilometers north of Arklow and 10 km out to sea and is known as the Arklow Bank Wind Park. This is set to expand in the future. Other proposals are an offshore wind farm on the Kish Bank which is about 15 kilometers offshore from Dublin, the capital city. With another planned wind farm at Clogherhead (north of Drogheda, south of Dundalk), to be called the Oriel Wind Farm.The Codling windfarm, planned for the south Irish Sea, will have a capacity of 1100 MW with 330 turbines, giving a huge boost to wind generated power in Ireland.

Lithuania[edit]

The Lithuanian government is planning on mimicking Baltic neighbor Denmark, which generates 20 percent of its energy with wind turbines. Lithuanian government have plans to build 200 megawatts of renewable energy by 2010 in wind turbines.[25]

Romania[edit]

As of 2016, wind power in Romania has an installed capacity of about 3,028 MW,[26] up from the 14 MW installed capacity in 2009.[27] Romania has a high wind power potential of around 14,000 MW (second highest in the EU after Scotland) and a power generating capacity of 23 TWh. The main regions of great potential of wind are Northern Dobruja and Moldavia.

Aerial view of the Sierra de Gredos in Spain

Spain[edit]

In 2011, Spain was Europe's leading producer of wind energy and ranked second only behind Germany in terms of installed capacity. In 2012, domestic capacity amounted to 22,785 MW.[28][29] Wind power alone covered 16.6% of the total electricity demand in Spain in 2010 (according to Red Eléctrica de España, the Spanish system operator) and continues as the third technology in the system, after nuclear power and combined cycles. Wind energy’s installed capacity could meet the electricity needs of two thirds of Spanish households. In 2010, the electricity sector reduced its CO2 emissions by 26% thanks to wind energy.[30][31] "Spain holds these positions as a result of the establishment of a stable regulatory framework, better understanding of the resource, and improved technology that have afforded considerable cost reduction in terms of initial investment, maintenance, and exploitation".[30]

United Kingdom[edit]

A turbine blade convoy passing through Edenfield, UK

At the beginning of 2013, the installed capacity of wind power in the United Kingdom was 8,445 megawatts (MW), with 362 operational wind farms and 4,158 wind turbines in the United Kingdom.[32] The United Kingdom is ranked as the world's eighth largest producer of wind power.

1.8 GW of new wind power capacity was brought online during 2012, a 30% increase of the total UK installed capacity. 2012 was a significant year for the offshore wind industry with 4 large wind farms becoming operational with over 1.1 GW of generating capability coming on stream.[33]

Through the Renewables Obligation, British electricity suppliers are now required by law to provide a proportion of their sales from renewable sources such as wind power or pay a penalty fee. The supplier then receives a Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) for each MW·h of electricity they have purchased.[34] Within the United Kingdom, wind power is the second largest source of renewable energy after biomass.[35]

Wind power is expected to continue growing in the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future – RenewableUK estimated in 2010 that more than 2,000 MW of capacity would be deployed per year for the next five years.[36] By 2020, the United Kingdom is expected to have more than 28,000 MW of wind capacity.[37]

Europe’s Wind Energy Event[edit]

In the Europe’s Premier Wind Energy Event February 2013 wind was evaluated by Robert Clover from MAKE Consulting as the cheapest electricity technology after 2020 meeting 50% of electricity demand in Europe by 2050.[38] According to Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency, without phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, the EU will not reach its climate targets. The fossil fuel subsidies were half a trillion dollars in 2011. The biggest challenges of wind energy is the lack of predictability of government policies, and not the lack of predictability of wind power, according to Birol. Retroactive policy changes have also undermined investment in renewable energy projects.[39] The European wind industry needs skilled workforce.[40] The EU wind energy capacity in the end of 2012 was 105.6 GW. Renewable energy represented 69% of new power capacity in 2012, while fuel oil, coal and nuclear capacity saw negative growth due to decommissioning.[41]

Public opinion[edit]

Recent public opinion surveys about wind power at both the EU and the country level shows that wind energy, being a clean and renewable energy source, is traditionally linked to very strong and stable levels of public support. About 80 per cent of EU citizens support wind power.[6]

Opinion on increase in number of wind farms, 2010 Harris Poll[5]
Great
Britain
France Italy Spain Germany
% % % % %
Strongly oppose 6 6 2 2 4
Oppose more than favour 12 16 11 9 14
Favour more than oppose 44 44 38 37 42
Strongly favour 38 33 49 53 40

Statistics[edit]

Installed wind power capacity[edit]

EU wind power Capacity (MW)[32][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49]
Rank Country 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
- EU-28 169,319 153,641 142,042 128,751 117,289 105,696 93,957 84,074 74,767 64,712 56,517 48,069 40,511 34,383 28,599 23,159 17,315 12,887 9,678 6,453
1 Germany 56,132 50,019 44,942 39,165 33,730 31,332 29,060 27,214 25,777 23,897 22,247 20,622 18,415 16,629 14,609 11,994 8,754 6,113 4,442 2,875
2 Spain 23,170 23,026 22,987 22,986 22,959 22,796 21,674 20,676 19,149 16,689 15,131 11,623 10,028 8,264 6,203 4,825 3,337 2,235 1,812 834
3 UK 18,872 15,030 14,291 12,440 10,531 8,445 6,540 5,204 4,051 2,974 2,406 1,962 1,332 904 667 552 474 406 362 333
4 France 13,759 11,670 10,324 9,285 8,254 7,196 6,800 5,660 4,492 3,404 2,454 1,567 757 390 257 148 93 66 25 19
5 Italy 9,479 9,255 8,973 8,663 8,551 8,144 6.747 5,797 4,850 3,736 2,726 2,123 1,718 1,266 905 788 682 427 277 180
6 Sweden 6,691 6,519 6,029 5,425 4,470 3,745 2,907 2,163 1,560 1,048 788 571 509 442 399 345 293 231 220 174
7 Poland 6,397 5,782 5,100 3,834 3,390 2,497 1,616 1,107 725 544 276 153 83 63 63 27 0 0 0 0
8 Denmark 5,476 5,242 5,075 4,845 4,772 4,162 3,871 3,752 3,465 3,163 3,125 3,136 3,128 3,118 3,116 2,889 2,489 2,417 1,771 1,443
9 Portugal 5,316 5,269 5,034 4,914 4,724 4,525 4,083 3,898 3,535 2,862 2,150 1,716 1,022 522 296 195 131 100 61 60
10 Netherlands 4,341 4,180 3,391 2,805 2,693 2,391 2,328 2,245 2,229 2,225 1,747 1,558 1,219 1,079 910 693 486 446 433 361
11 Ireland 3,127 2,765 2,440 2,272 2,037 1,738 1,631 1,428 1,260 1,027 795 746 496 339 190 137 124 118 74 73
12 Romania 3,029 3,028 2,976 2,954 2,599 1,905 982 462 14 11 8 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
13 Belgium 2,843 2,400 2,169 1,959 1,651 1,375 1,078 911 563 415 287 194 167 96 68 35 32 13 6 6
14 Austria 2,828 2,632 2,404 2,095 1,684 1,378 1,084 1,011 995 995 982 965 819 606 415 140 94 77 34 30
15 Greece 2,651 2,374 2,136 1,980 1,865 1,749 1,629 1,208 1,087 985 871 746 573 473 383 297 272 189 112 39
16 Finland 2,113 1,533 1,005 627 448 288 197 197 146 143 110 86 82 82 52 43 39 39 39 17
17 Bulgaria 691 691 691 691 681 674 612 375 177 120 57 36 10 10 0 0 0 0 0 0
18 Croatia 613 466 462 347 339[50] 180 131 89 28 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
19 Lithuania 493 493 438 279 279 225 179 163 91 54 54 51 48 6 6 0 0 0 0 0
20 Hungary 329 329 329 329 329 329 329 295 201 127 65 61 17 3 3 3 0 0 0 0
21 Estonia 310 310 302 302 280 269 184 149 142 78 59 32 32 6 2 2 0 0 0 0
22 Czech Republic 308 281 281 281 269 260 217 215 192 150 116 54 28 17 9 3 0 0 0 0
23 Cyprus 158 158 158 147 147 147 134 82 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
24 Luxembourg 120 100 58 58 58 58 44 44 35 35 35 35 35 35 22 17 15 10 10 9
25 Latvia 66 70 69 62 62 60 31 30 28 27 27 27 27 27 27 24 0 0 0 0
26 Slovenia 3 3 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
27 Slovakia 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 5 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
28 Malta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
- EU-28 Offshore 15,780 12,406 10,994 8,045 6,562 4,993 3,810 2,944 2,061 1,471 1,088
- Turkey 6,857 6,101 4,718 3,763 2,956 2,312 1,691 1,329 801 458
- Norway 1,162 838 822 819 768 703 520 441 431 429 333 314 267 160 101
- Ukraine 593 526 514 498 371 278 151 87 94 90 89 86 77 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
- Switzerland 70 70 60 60 60 50 46 42 18 14 12 12 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
- Macedonia 37 37 37 37 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
- Faroe Islands 18 18 18 18 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
- Russia 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 9 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
- Belarus 3 3 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
- Iceland 3 3 3 3 1.8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
- Europe (MW) 178,096 161,261 148,240 133,968 121,474 109,238 96,607 86,075 76,152 65,741 57,136 48,563 40,898

Per capita capacity[edit]

Wind power today, in an average wind year, generates the equivalent of over 20% of Denmark’s electricity use and 25–30% of that in three German Länder, and on windy days with light loads, over 100% of the load in certain regions, particularly in West Denmark, North Germany, and northern Spain.[51]

Wind power share of electricity demand and per capita capacity
2007[52] 2008[53] 2009[54] 2010[55] 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Country % electricity W/person W/person W/person W/person W/person W/person W/person W/person W/person W/person W/person
 Denmark 21.3 579 581 627.5 686.6 706.2 745.8 837.3 850.1 894.6 911.8 947.2
 Germany 7.0 270 291 315.3 332.7 355.7 382.8 415.9 483.0 553.7 608.7 679.8
 Sweden 1.3 88 111 166.9 231.6 308.7 394.8 454.0 551.0 618.1 647.7 661.6
 Ireland 8.4 193 228 283.1 319.6 364.0 375.0 439.5 490.1 537.4 580.7 652.5
 Portugal 9.3 203 270 332.5 366.4 403.4 429.2 471.2 471.3 489.6 511.1 515.6
 Spain 11.8 367 370 415.5 449.6 469.2 490.8 494.3 495.0 495.8 495.6 497.8
 Finland 0.3 21 27 27.3 36.8 36.6 53.4 81.7 114.3 182.8 278.6 383.1
Average 3.8 116 131 149.2 168.3 187.2 209.7 230.8 253.3 278.6 300.2 330.8
 Austria 3.3 120 119 118.8 120.7 128.2 163.2 195.3 243.0 281.0 299.3 320.5
 United Kingdom 1.8 40 54 65.3 83.9 105.0 132.4 162.7 192.2 210.0 228.9 287.5
 Netherlands 3.4 107 136 134.0 135.4 139.1 145.3 158.7 165.3 203.0 245.3 252.6
 Belgium 0.7 28 36 52.0 81.9 98.4 124.5 147.5 175.1 198.0 212.3 249.4
 Greece 3.7 78 88 96.1 106.9 143.6 154.9 170.2 180.1 199.0 212.3 246.4
 Estonia 1.8 45 58 111.3 111.0 137.2 200.8 213.4 230.2 230.7 229.2 235.1
 France 1.2 40 53 69.9 87.5 104.0 114.6 123.9 139.3 156.1 174.2 204.8
 Luxembourg 1.1 71 90 86.2 86.2 84.6 106.7 106.7 106.7 106.7 173.5 203.2
 Cyprus 0 0 0 0 102.1 166.6 170.5 170.5 170.5 186.5 185.7 184.8
 Lithuania 1.1 15 19 27.3 46.3 55.2 74.8 96.6 96.6 145.1 180.4 175.6
 Poland 0.4 7 12 18.5 31.0 42.3 64.9 88.1 99.6 134.2 149.7 166.5
 Italy 1.7 47 63 80.3 96.1 111.1 133.9 140.7 142.5 147.3 152.7 156.7
 Romania 0.0 0 1 1 19.5 45.9 90.9 133.2 151.4 157.5 154.2 154.3
 Bulgaria 0.5 10 21 23.4 49.6 81.6 89.7 92.5 93.8 93.8 93.8 97.3
 Latvia 0.9 12 12 12.5 13.8 13.9 33.3 33.5 33.5 33.5 33.5 34.2
 Hungary 0.4 6 12 20.1 29.3 32.9 33.0 33.0 33.0 33.0 33.0 33.6
 Czech Republic 0.4 11 14 18.4 20.5 20.6 24.6 25.6 26.8 26.8 26.8 29.1

Leading EU countries by wind power production[edit]

Leading EU countries by wind power production (2016)[56]
Country Production (GWh)
Germany 79,800
Spain 50,157
United Kingdom 37,251
France (w/o overseas) 20,700
Italy 17,455
Sweden 14,200
Denmark 12,782
Portugal 12,560
Poland 11,623
Netherlands 8,343
Romania 6,725
Ireland 6,115
Austria 5,700
Belgium 5,200
Greece 5,096

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Wind in Power 2017" (PDF).
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  23. ^ Greece Renewable Energy - Europa Fact Sheet
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  39. ^ Fossil fuel subsidies are "public enemy number one" – IEA Chief EWEA 04 Feb 2013
  40. ^ Feb 2013
  41. ^ 8/2/2013: EU wind power grows in 2012 - but industry challenged in 2013
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External links[edit]