Wind power will take the lead from other renewable energy resources in Europe by 2020, according a new report from ENDS Europe.
Based on the national renewable action plans submitted to the European Commission earlier this summer, installed wind capacity will be greater than both hydropower – the current leading technology – and solar combined by the end of the decade.
Germany will continue to lead the region, with an expected 100,000 GWh by 2020, but the UK has outlined one of the largest increases in capacity – a fivefold rise on current levels to around 78,000 GWh.
The UK’s growth will rely heavily on ramping up offshore wind generation by almost a factor of ten from 1390 MW to nearly 13,000 MW by 2020.
Both the Netherlands and Poland also plan major increases in wind power generation, while early leader Denmark will be overtaken by a number of its neighbours.
According to recent figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), there are currently 948 offshore wind turbines in operation with a total capacity of 2396 MW.
In the first half of this year alone, 118 turbines totalling 333 MW were connected to the grid, a further 151 turbines totalling 440 MW are awaiting connection and 16 further wind farms adding 3972 MW are under construction.
According to Justin Wilkes, policy director at EWEA, offshore wind is heading for a record year, but he warned that the sector is being held back by a lack of finance.
“Europe is a world leader in offshore wind energy, and continuing growth – and the availability of finance –is essential for European jobs and competitiveness, as well as for reducing CO? emissions,” he says.
“Loans from public institutions such as the European Investment Bank are crucial and have already helped a number of projects, but this support must be extended further.”
For further information:
UK Government announces £10 million for offshore wind (5-Jul)
UK Crown Estate gives go ahead for extra 2 GW of offshore wind capacity (12-May)
Europe predicts strong year ahead for wind market (15-Jun)
Offshore wind could meet 10% of Europe’s electricity needs (16-Sept 2009)
22 July 2010