In 2015 12,800 MW of new wind power capacity was installed in the EU, an increase of 6.3% over 2014, and more than any other form of power generation, according to recent new figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). Wind power accounted for over 44% of total power capacity installations in the EU last year.
There is now 142 GW of installed wind power capacity in the EU, notes EWEA: 131 GW onshore and 11 GW offshore. Wind energy has overtaken hydro as the third largest source of power generation in the EU with a 15.6% share of total power capacity. Since 2000,. wind has accounted for one third of all new power installations since 2000. Conventional power sources such as fuel oil and coal continue to decommission more capacity than they install. Gas installations also saw a high rate of capacity decommissioning in 2015.
According to the EWEA figures, published in its Wind in Power 2015 Eruopean Statistics report, which came out in February, Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed capacity (45 GW), followed by Spain (23 GW), the UK (14 GW) and France (10 GW). 47% of all new installations in 2015 took place in Germany. Poland, France and the UK followed with 1.3 GW, 1 GW and 970 MW respectively.
€26.4 billion was invested in Europe in 2015 to finance wind energy development. This was 40% more than the total investment in 2014. The total wind power capacity installed at the end of 2015 could produce 315 TWh and cover 11.4% of the EU electricity consumption in a normal wind year.
Below we present some of the key statistics from the EWEA report.
Offshore wind more than doubles
In a separate report focusing exclusively on offshore wind (The European offshore wind industry – key trends and statistics 2015), also published in February, EWEA notes that offshoe wind capacity grew by 108% in 2015. Again, Germany was the clear leader, accounting for three-quarters of new capacity, followed by the UK and the Netherlands. Eon and RWE, the troubled German utilities, were the largest developers of offshore wind. The UK still has the largest share of offshore wind power capacity in the EU, followed by Germany and Denmark.
Ten projects, worth €13.3bn, reached final investment decision (FID) in 2015, a doubling over 2014. In total 3,034 MW of new capacity reached FID during 2015, making a cumulative total of 11,027 MW of offshore wind power capacity. A further 1,900 MW is currently under construction.
Reduced risk perception for offshore wind projects has led to the emergence of project bonds as a means of financing, notes EWEA. For the first time, €1.5bn was raised through project bonds for the construction and refinancing of offshore wind farms.
Below some more key statistics. Both reports contain a great deal of additional information, including technical data on turbines, foundations, water depths and distances to shore.