Germany and Spain to lead way in European wind power capacity, says EWEA

EUROPE: Germany and Spain will see the highest increase in installed wind power capacity in the next 12 years, closely followed by the UK and France, according to a report by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

Germany is set to receive an additional wind power capacity of 25.1 GW (Pic: Bundesverband WindEnergie e.V.)
Germany is set to receive an additional wind power capacity of 25.1 GW (Pic: Bundesverband WindEnergie e.V.)

EWEA’s Pure Power report forecasts that Germany and Spain will receive an additional capacity of 25.1 and 23.3 gigawatts (GW) respectively – making up 29% of the total EU increase – while the UK will boost its capacity by 22.8 GW and France by 19.6 GW.

The report estimates that wind energy capacity in the EU will increase by 165 GW by 2020 with significant gains also being made in Italy (11.8 GW), Poland (10 GW), and Sweden (8 GW).

Moreover, while only 24 EU member states today have wind power – Romania, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus have almost zero capacity – EWEA says that all 27 should have operating wind farms by 2020. 

This would mean the EU’s total wind capacity by 2020 will be 230 GW. Some 190 GW of this will be onshore and 40 GW offshore. In order to reach that capacity, EWEA’s says annual installations would be 24.8-17.9 GW onshore and 6.9 GW offshore.

The annual cost, it adds, would be €23.5-14.7 billion for onshore build and €8.8 billion for offshore. If this target were reached, wind power would be able to produce 582 TWh of electricity a year?? –433 TWh onshore and 148 TWh offshore and meet 14-17% of the EU’s electricity requirements depending on total demand, says the report. The increase in wind capacity would prevent the emission of 333 Mt CO2 annually, it estimates.

For the moment, Denmark continues to lead the way with the highest amount of wind energy capacity per square kilometre, says the report. Germany comes a close second, followed by the Netherlands and then Spain. Portugal and Ireland are next in line with above the EU average wind power density.

Wind power in Denmark is equivalent to more than 20% of its total electricity consumption, by far the largest share of any country in the world, while Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Germany have more than 5% of their electricity demand produced by wind energy. France and the UK each have less than half of the EU’s average density of wind power capacity.

"Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are European leaders in fighting climate change with wind-powered electricity," said Christian Kjaer, chief executive of EWEA. But he refused to be downbeat about countries that lie further down the league table.

"The figures released today also reveal the huge potential for wind power growth in most countries, he insisted. "Laggards in wind energy – including France, the UK, Sweden, Finland and eastern European countries – can easily play catch-up."

EWEA says that if the eight geographically largest member states – namely, Sweden and Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK and Poland - had the same density of wind power capacity as Denmark, they would produce enough wind power to meet 19% of total EU-27 electricity demand.

This would avoid 362 million tonnes of CO2 emissions – the equivalent to meeting more than 30% of the EU’s 2020 climate target.

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