Offshore and Eastern Europe new growth drivers for wind power in EuropeNews // February 8, 2011
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) says 9.3 gigawatt (GW) of new wind power capacity was installed in the EU during 2010, reaching a total of 84GW by the end of 2010.
While offshore wind power installations grew 51 per cent from 582MW in 2009 to 883MW last year, onshore wind power installations (8.4GW) were down 13.9 per cent compared to 2009 (9.7GW).
"These figures are a warning that we cannot take for granted the continued financing of renewable energy," said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive Officer of EWEA. "Better access to financing is urgently needed, and the European Union must act without delay to prevent Europe losing its leadership in wind power and other renewable technologies. The recent communication from the Commission on the financing of renewables is a start, as long as it is followed up quickly by the Commission putting its proposals into action."
Total investments in new wind power plant was unchanged at €13 billion, compared to 2009, due to the larger share of offshore wind capacity. Newly installed capacity in 2010 (9.3GW) was 10 per cent down on 2009 (10.3GW).
"Remarkable growth in the onshore wind markets of Romania, Poland and Bulgaria could not make up for the decline in new onshore installations in Spain, Germany and the UK. Strong development of the offshore wind market was led by the UK, Denmark and Belgium," said Mr Kjaer.
The overall market for renewable power capacity, including wind, solar, hydro and biomass, reached record levels in 2010, increasing 31 per cent from 17.5GW in 2009 to 22.6GW in 2010. Renewable energy accounted for 41 per cent of all new installations.
Wind power installations accounted for 17 per cent of new electricity generating capacity in 2010, the first year since 2007 that the EU did not install more wind power than any other generating technology.
The EU continues to move away from fuel oil and nuclear power for electricity production, decommissioning more old capacity than installing new capacity. However, for only the second time since 1998, the EU installed more coal power capacity than it decommissioned in 2010. 28GW of new gas capacity was installed last year, compared to 6.6GW in 2009. Gas represented 51 per cent of all new power capacity in 2010.
The wind power capacity installed by the end of 2010 will, in a normal wind year, produce 181 TWh of electricity (up from 163 TWh), meeting 5.3 per cent of overall EU electricity consumption (4.8 per cent in 2009).