Wind to dominate EU energy landscape 'well before 2025', says IEA

Wind will become the largest power source for the European Union in less than five years, driven by investment in offshore wind farms, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The growth of offshore wind in Europe has helped to increase renewables' share in the electricity mix (pic: EWE/Matthias-Ibeler)
The growth of offshore wind in Europe has helped to increase renewables' share in the electricity mix (pic: EWE/Matthias-Ibeler)

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The IEA believes wind will become the electricity generation leader ahead of gas and nuclear by 2025 at the latest.

Across the EU, wind energy is the largest renewable source providing 11.1% of the bloc’s electricity generation. However, this is much less than nuclear (25.4%) and natural gas (20.3%) which currently hold the lion’s share. Solar accounts for only 3.7% of the bloc’s electricity generation.

The EU has “emerged as a leader in offshore wind technology” that has attracted “major financial investors”, the IEA noted in a new energy policy review of the region.

In particular, investments in offshore wind farms in the North and Baltic Seas have made the EU a global leader.

The agency concludes that under already-announced EU policies — notably the renewable targets under the Renewable Energy Directive — the share of wind and solar PV generation will exceed 40% by 2040. To date, this has only been achived at a national level in small and well-interconnected systems such as Denmark.

However, the EU still lacks a “system-wide approach” in planning terms. With the emergence of very large offshore wind farms, a “new era of system integration” will be needed to account for green hydrogen and also large-scale transmission upgrades across the EU, the IEA states in its report. 

An EU strategy on offshore wind needs new planning processes that facilitate “the integration of innovative solutions and offshore electricity interconnections among others”, the agency added,

 

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