Ones to watch for wind power

31 Jan 2011

Solar PV has overtaken wind in the EU in terms of power installations, but investment in EU wind farms still reached €12.7bn in 2010, with offshore wind and Eastern Europe as the new growth drivers.

This is according to Wind in Power: 2010 European Statistics, the latest report from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), which coincides with today’s publication by the European Commission on financing renewable energy.

In 2010, 9.3 gigawatt (GW) of new wind power capacity was installed in the EU, accounting for 16.7pc of new installations in 2010. The EWEA says this is the first year since 2007 that wind power did not install more than any other generating technology.

In 2010, the main installations came from:

  • Solar PV at 12GW (21.7pc of total capacity)
  • Wind at 9.3GW (16.7pc)
  • Coal at 4,056MW (7.3pc)
  • Biomass at 573MW (1pc)
  • CSP at 405MW (0.7pc)
  • Large hydro at 208MW (0.4pc)
  • Peat at 200MW (0.4pc)
  • Waste at 149MW (0.3pc)
  • Nuclear at 145MW (0.3pc)
  • Small hydro at 25MW
  • Geothermal at 25MW
  • Zero MW of tidal and wave capacity were installed

Significantly, no fuel oil capacity was added in the EU during 2010, according to the EWEA.

Wind trends

A total of 84,074MW of wind power is now installed in the EU. The EWEA says Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed capacity, followed by Spain, France, the UK and Italy. Eight other countries have more than 1GW of installed capacity: Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Poland and Austria.

While offshore wind power installations grew 51pc from 582MW in 2009 to 883MW last year, new onshore wind power installations (8.9GW) were down 11pc compared to 2009 (9.9GW).

Financing renewable energy

“These figures are a warning that we cannot take for granted the continued financing of renewable energy,” said Christian Kjaer, CEO, 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. Today’s 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.”

The report points to how total investments in new wind power plants was unchanged at €13bn, compared to 2009, saying this is due to the larger share of offshore wind capacity.

“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 lead by the UK, Denmark and Belgium,” added Kjaer.

Renewable power capacity

The overall market for renewable power capacity, including wind, solar, hydro and biomass, reached record levels in 2010, according to today’s report, increasing 31pc from 16.3GW in 2009 to 22.6GW in 2010.

It says renewable energy accounted for 41pc of all new installations.

Wind power installations accounted for 17pc 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.

While the EU continues to move away from fuel oil and nuclear power for electricity production, decommissioning more old capacity than installing new capacity, the EWEA says that, for only the second time since 1998, the EU installed more coal power capacity than it decommissioned in 2010.

Annual installations

In terms of new wind capacity installed in 2010:

  • Spain was the largest market, installing 1,516MW
  • Germany installed 1,493MW
  • France was the only other country to install more than 1 GW (1,086 MW)
  • The UK installed 962MW
  • Italy installed 948MW
  • Sweden installed 604MW
  • Romania installed 437MW
  • Poland installed 382 MW
  • Portugal installed 345 MW
  • Belgium installed 350 MW.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic