EU wind power wavering between flagging onshore and huge and promising offshore market

March 26, 2012 | 00:00

EU wind power wavering between flagging onshore and huge and promising offshore market

Notwithstanding the economic crisis affecting most of the globe’s major economies, wind energy continues to gain supporters around the world, reports the EurObserv’ER barometer, a project supported by the European Commission within the Intelligent Energy Europe programme and by Ademe, the French Environment and Energy management Agency, and by Caisse des Dépôts.

Global wind power capacity increased by 40.5 GW between 2010 and 2011 compared to a 39 GW rise between 2009 and 2010, after deduction of decommissioned capacity. By the end of 2011 global installed wind turbine capacity should stand at around 238.5 GW, and much of the world’s growth is being driven by capacity build-up in the emerging markets. In contrast some of the key wind energy markets may be showing fault lines.

EurObserv’ER puts the year’s installed capacity at about 9 367.7 MW, a drop on its 2010 performance (9 951.6 MW). Total European Union wind energy capacity should settle at 94.1 GW, which equates to 187.2 kW of capacity per 1 000 inhabitants (graph 3). Taking the number of inhabitants as the yardstick, the top three ranked wind energy producer countries are Denmark (706.2 kW per 1 000 inhab.), Spain (469.6 kW per 1 000 inhab.) and Portugal (403.4 kW per 1 000 inhab.).

EurObserv’ER found that offshore wind energy fared worse in 2011 than in 2010 with 788.1 MW installed as against 1 139.9 MW installed in 2010. By the end of 2011 European Union offshore wind energy capacity had risen to 3 820.1 MW. After the disappointments of 2010, wind power production expectations were met in 2011. According to EurObserv’ER, they should exceed 172 TWh (EU-27), which equates to a 15.5% year-on-year increase (149.1 TWh in 2010).

Besides the 2011 realisations per EU Member State other subjects that are discussed in the new barometer are:
• Selected country reviews
• Renewable energy policies
• Industry overview
• Comparison with National Renewable Energy Action Plans

For additional information on renewable energy issues (data referring to 2010, among others EU Member State renewable energy employment, turnover and realisations) see also the annual EurObserv’ER publication ‘The State of Renewable Energies in Europe’, 2011 edition: (January 2012, PDF, English/French language, 248 pages, 12.7 MB).

The Wind Power Barometer can be accessed here.


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