Change of direction as wind power overtakes coal in EU power generation

shutterstock_542005381For the second consecutive year, the UK was Europe’s biggest investor in wind energy with €12.7bn spent on the construction of new onshore and offshore wind farms, new figures reveal.

This accounted for 46% of the total wind energy investments in 2016 and brings the total number of turbines in the UK to 14,452 compared with 50,019 in Germany and 153,000 in the EU as a whole.

Wind energy actually overtook coal as the second largest form of power generation capacity in Europe after gas, statistics from industry body WindEurope showed.

Renewable energy – from wind, solar, biomass and hydro – made up 86 per cent of new capacity installed last year. Wind power accounted for 51% of total power capacity installations.

Last year was the ninth in a row where renewables contributed over 55% of all additional power capacity in the EU.

GreenMountainWindFarm_Fluvanna_2004But progress could falter once the UK finalises its Brexit deal and political support across the EU is uncertain after 2020 when its renewable energy targets end.

‘Wind energy is now a mainstream and essential part of Europe’s electricity supply. It is also a mature and significant industry in its own right, providing 330,000 jobs and billions of euros of European exports,’ said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.

‘With all the talk about the transition to low-carbon, things should be looking good long-term for the wind industry in Europe. But they’re not. Government policy on energy across Europe is less clear and ambitious than it was a few years ago.’

With almost 300 TWh generated in 2016, wind power covered 10.4 % of the EU’s electricity demand.

*On March 7, a one day Offshore Wind Conference is taking place in London’s Docklands on the subject of reducing costs, optimising performance.

Industry leaders from across Europe will gather to discuss harnessing practical technologies, learning lessons, securing investment, durable, reliable innovations, collaborative strategies and government support.

Here at Syntegra we are delighted to offer a service helping organisations put cost-saving energy efficiency strategies into practice, with advice on relevant energy saving technology grants available.