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In 2012, installed wind power capacity in the European Union totalled 105,000 megawatts (MW) - enough to supply 7% of the EU's electricity. 11,895 MW of wind power was installed in 2012 alone, representing 11.4% of new power capacity. The EU wind industry has had an average annual growth of 15.6% over the last 17 years (1995-2011).
A European Environment Agency report, entitled Europe's onshore and offshore wind energy potential confirms wind energy could power Europe many times over. The report highlights wind power’s potential in 2020 as three times greater than Europe’s expected electricity demand, rising to a factor of seven by 2030.
The EWEA estimates 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 avoided fuel costs.
Research from a wide variety of sources in various European countries shows that support for wind power is consistently about 80 per cent amongst the general public.
Europe’s Wind Energy Event
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. According to Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency without a phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, we will not reach our climate targets. The fossil fuel subsidies were half a trillion dollars in 2011. 80% of fossil fuel subsidies go to middle and high income households. The biggest challenges of wind energy is the lack of predictability of government policies, and not the lack of predictability of wind power, Birol said. According to Vice-President of the European Parliament Anni Podimata retroactive policy changes undermine investment in renewable energy projects. The European wind industry needs skilled workforce. 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.
Wind power in Germany describes wind power in Germany as part of energy in Germany and renewable energy in Germany. In 2011, the installed capacity of wind power in Germany was 29,075 megawatts (MW), with wind power producing about 8 percent of Germany’s total electrical power. According to EWEA in a normal wind year, installed wind capacity in Germany will meet 10.6% at end 2011 and 9.3% at end 2010 of the German electricity needs.
More than 21,607 wind turbines are located in the German federal area and the country has plans to build more wind turbines. As of 2011, Germany's federal government is working on a new plan for increasing renewable energy commercialization, with a particular focus on offshore wind farms.
Spain is the leading generator of wind energy in Europe and the second country (after Germany) in installed capacity as of 2011. 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. “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”.
Wind power in Denmark provides some 20 per cent of Danish domestic electricity 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. Within the United Kingdom, wind power is the second largest source of renewable energy after biomass.
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. By 2020, the United Kingdom is expected to have more than 28,000 MW of wind capacity.
As of 2012, wind power in Romania has an installed capacity of about 1900 MW, up from the 14 MW installed capacity in 2009. Romania has a high wind power potential of around 14,000 MW and a power generating capacity of 23 TWh. The main regions of great potential of wind are Dobrogea and Moldavia.
Republic of Ireland
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 2008 the installed capacity of wind power in Ireland was 1,244.7 MW.
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 1100MW with 330 turbines, giving a huge boost to wind generated power in Ireland.
As of 2011, the installed capacity of wind power in Estonia was 184 MW, whilst roughly 546 MW 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.
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.
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.
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.
|Oppose more than favour||12||16||11||9||14|
|Favour more than oppose||44||44||38||37||42|
|EU Wind Energy Capacity (MW)|
Per capita capacity
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.
% of electricity and per person
Leading countries by windpower production
|Top 10 EU countries by windpower electricity production
|Country||Windpower electricity production (GWh)|
- Installed wind power capacity
- European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)
- Global Wind Energy Council
- Renewable energy in the European Union
- Renewable-energy economy
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- EWEA (2012). "Wind in power: 2011 European statistics".
- "Europe's onshore and offshore wind energy potential — EEA". Eea.europa.eu. 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- "EEA report confirms wind energy could power Europe many times over". Eolic Energy News. 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
- The Harris Poll#119 (October 13, 2010). "Large Majorities in U.S. and Five Largest European Countries Favor More Wind Farms and Subsidies for Bio-fuels, but Opinion is Split on Nuclear Power". PRNewswire.
- "The Social Acceptance of Wind Energy". European Commission.
- Wind will be cheapest electricity generating technology by 2020 EWEA 04 Feb 2013
- Fossil fuel subsidies are “public enemy number one” – IEA Chief EWEA 04 Feb 2013
- Feb 2013
- 8/2/2013: EU wind power grows in 2012 - but industry challenged in 2013
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- Wind energy: a visionary match
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- RenewableUK Wind Energy statistics>
- Renewables Obligation. Ofgem.gov.uk.
- Department of Energy and Climate Change (2010), Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES) 2010, Stationery Office, ISBN 978-0-11-515526-0 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK], retrieved 7 June 2011
- RenewableUK 23 September 2010 Press Release. Bwea.com.
- Jowit, Juliette (26 February 2012). "Windfarms axed as UK loses its taste for turbines". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "Romania Has 800 Turbines, Investments In Wind Farms Exceed EUR1.5B In 2012". ZF English. 2012-12-27. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
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- Dec 03, 2008 By Adam Mullett (2008-12-03). "Bridging Lithuania’s energy gap. Adam Mullett. December 3, 2008". Baltictimes.com. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
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- Lovins, Amory B. (2005). Nuclear power: economics and climate-protection potential, see footnote 28.
- Wind energy barometer 2008 EurObserv’ER Systèmes solaires Le journal des énergies renouvelables n° 189, 4/2009, p.54, 72
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- Wind energy barometer 2010
- Pure Power, Wind Energy Scenarios up to 2030 EWEA April 2008 s. 20-21
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- The European Wind Energy Association
- European Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition
- Wind Power Seen As Key Part Of Europe’s 20% Renewable Energy Target
- EWEA: 180 GW of Wind Power Possible in Europe by 2020
- Europe’s biggest onshore wind farm plugs into the national grid
- Offshore wind to take EU by storm?