European wind energy production on the rise

Denmark, the UK, Austria and Germany have each posted new records for wind's contribution to the national electricity production.

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Denmark's energy ministry released figures showing 39.1% of its electricity in 2014 came from wind. This figure has more than doubled in ten years: in 2004 wind accounted for 18.8% of the country's electricity production.

An energy ministry spokesperson said last year's data represents a new world record and beats other countries "by a distance".

Denmark's most productive month was January 2014, when wind energy produced 61.7% of its electricity. July was the least productive month, with 23% provided by wind.

Year Wind share
2004 18.8%
2005 18.7%
2006 17.0%
2007 19.9%
2008 19.3%
2009 19.4%
2010 22.0%
2011 28.3%
2012 30.1%
2013 33.2%
2014 39.1%
Share of wind energy in Denmark electricity production

Part of the increased share of wind could be due to lower energy consumption in Denmark in the first nine months of 2014.

Figures released by the Danish Energy Agency yesterday show actual energy consumption fell 5.8% in the period between January and October last year, compared with the same time in 2013. This reduction has been put down to warmer weather and an increase in net imports of electricity.

UK and Germany

Meanwhile, the annual electricity output of the UK's wind sector grew by 15% last year. Overall, wind power provided 9.3% of UK electricity supply in 2014, compared with 7.8% in 2013.

UK wind power generated 28.1TWh of electricity in 2014, up from 24.5TWh in 2013, according to an independent analysis of National Grid figures commissioned by wind trade body RenewableUK.

December in the UK was a record-breaking month, with 14% of the UK's electricity produced by wind, beating the record of 13% set a year earlier.

Last month in Germany was also one for the record books. Turbines there produced 8.9TWh in December, more than any month previously. The figures were released by IWR, a German renewable energy research institute.

IWR believes the record could be broken again in 2015 as Germany brings online a number of offshore projects, including Vattenfall's 288MW DanTysk and RWE's 295MW Nordsee Ost.


Austria has doubled its installed wind capacity within 3 years, adding 1,015MW and 365 turbines between 2012 and 2014, according to the Austrian wind energy association IG Windkraft.

In total Austria has a total 1,016 turbines with 2,095MW. The capacity can generate around 4.5TWh per year, roughly equivalent to 7.2% of Austria's electricity consumption.

Underlining the significance of the sector, €15.3 billion was invested in wind energy over the period 2012-2014, more than in the automobile or food sectors.

Last year 144 turbines totalling 411MW were installed in Austria, compared with 308MW in 2013 and 296MW in 2012.

In 2015, about 390MW of new capacity is expected to be commissioned, mainly in Lower Austria, the association predicted.

However, beyond that, the future outlook is less rosy. The increasing cost of balancing power serving the electricity system and lower wholesale electricity prices mean fewer projects will get the green light from the green power administration authority Ökostromabwicklungsstelle (OeMAG).

OeMAG controls support for renewables generation. Annual installations are likely to halve compared with the current level, warned IG Windkraft managing director Stefan Moidl, who called for a revision of balancing power market rules.

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