Wind sector gains ground in Europe
WindEurope annual report
Fifteen percent of total European electricity consumption comes from wind power. That is thanks to the installation of an additional 15.4 GW of capacity in 2019, which takes the total of wind energy capacity across the continent to 205 GW, according to the latest annual WindEurope report. But while these figures are are encouraging they are still a long way from what will be required to meet EU targets.
One of the industry's great advances has been the development of offshore wind power. The WindEurope report noted that investment in this sector is increasing.
WindEurope highlighted the advances and progress of Northern European countries, including the United Kingdom, which accounted for almost half of installed capacity in 2019 with a total of 1.7 GW. Furthermore, despite having a considerably smaller coastal area, Germany installed 1.1 GW last year. Investments by smaller countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark cannot be ignored either, which, although they are not striking in absolute terms, are impressive per capita investment.
The country to lead annual installation in 2019 was Spain (2.3 GW), followed by Sweden (1.6 GW) and France (1.3 GW). Behind those countries were Germany (1.1 GW) and the United Kingdom (0.7 GW). In the case of Germany, its heavy investment in offshore contrasted with a decline in onshore installation to the lowest level since 2000. This trend looks likely to continue in 2020 given that investments announced to date are not significant.
However, WindEurope remains optimistic about countries such as Spain, which appears ready again to resume investments after several years at low levels. Spain might also be joined by Sweden, which registered record installations record last year. Finally, while installation in France did register some stagnation in 2019, it is expected to continue progressing this year.
The wind sector continues to make progress, although it will require much larger large investments, than at present in order to reach the targets set by the European Union in its European Green Deal. Data in the WindEurope report also showed that offshore has a more positive outlook than onshore, even if both are complementary and indispensable to meet targets for EU carbon neutrality by 2050.
However, according to WindEurope's calculations Europe is still far from its goals for 2050 and would need to install twice as many GWs as installed in 2019 every year until mid-century.