Wind energy continues to grow as share in EU’s electricity mix

Wind energy continues to grow as share in EU’s electricity mix

BRUSSELS, 21-Feb-2019 — /EuropaWire/ — WindEurope report reveals that in 2018, wind energy provided 14% of the EU’s electricity, an increase from 12% in 2017. Wind power capacity rose in Europe by 11.3 GW in 2018: 8.6 GW onshore and 2.65 GW offshore.

Greater capacity and more powerful turbines drive up wind’s share in the electricity mix. Last year Denmark had the biggest share of wind in its electricity (41%), second was Ireland (28%) followed by Portugal (24%) and Germany (21%).

Almost half (49%) of all the new power generation capacity in Europe in 2018 was accounted for wind. Yet the amount of new wind capacity was down a third on 2017 which was a record year. Last year, wind energy won 9 GW of new capacity in auctions, compared to 13 GW in 2017. Poorly designed auctions and problems with permitting also brought down new capacity in Germany by over half. And in the UK no new onshore wind farms reported. To date, Europe has 171 GW onshore and 18 GW offshore wind farms, a total of 189 GW of wind power capacity.

In 2018 record new wind capacity was financed and costs continue to fall according to the data. 13 GW onshore and 4.2 GW offshore: 17 GW of future projects reached Final Investment Decision (FID), this is 45% more than in 2017 but only 20% more in euros invested.

“Wind energy now provides 14% of the EU’s electricity, up from 12% in one year. More and more people and businesses are benefitting from the clean and affordable power that wind delivers. But beneath the surface many things are not right. Last year was the worst year for new wind energy installations since 2011. Growth in onshore wind fell by over half in Germany and collapsed in the UK. And 12 EU countries didn’t install a single wind turbine last year.

“Investments in future capacity were quite good last year thanks to the UK, Spain, Sweden – and thanks also to the further expansion of offshore wind. But the outlook for new investments is uncertain. There are structural problems in permitting, especially in Germany and France. And with the noble exception of Lithuania and despite improvements in Poland, there’s a lack of ambition in Central and Eastern Europe.

“The 2030 National Energy & Climate Plans are a chance to put things right. But the draft Plans are badly lacking in detail: on policy measures, auction volumes, how to ease permitting and remove other barriers to wind investments, and how to expand the grid. Governments need to sort this out before they finalise the Plans this year.” — Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO 

SOURCE: WindEurope asbl/vzw

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