Record year of European wind turbine energy hides fears of slow-down – report

29 Jan 2014

Off-shore wind farm photo via Wikimedia Commons

After a record year for the production of wind energy in Europe in 2013, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) believes it hides decreasing off-shore turbine production.

According to its latest report analysing 2013, the amount of energy produced from wind turbines broke numerous records after 418 offshore turbines came online, making an unprecedented 1,567MW of new capacity.

In the coming years, there are more than 22,000MW of expected turbine developments across the continent, but the EWEA fears the actual numbers of turbines has reduced and will continue to do so if nothing is done to keep the momentum going.

Currently, there are 11 wind turbine projects under way, down from 14 in 2013 and even fewer are expected in 2015.

Encouraging politicians

Speaking about the report, deputy CEO at the EWEA Justin Wilkes feels political support for these projects is waning: “The unclear political support for offshore wind energy – especially in key offshore wind markets like the UK and Germany – has led to delays to planned projects and fewer new projects being launched. This means installations are likely to plateau until 2015, followed by a decline as from 2016.

“An ambitious decision on a 2030 renewable energy target by the heads of State in March would be the right signal to send to the offshore wind sector that Europe will develop its massive offshore wind potential for green growth, jobs, industrialisation, technological leadership and CO2 reductions.”

The UK is still the largest off-shore wind-energy producer in Europe by a significant margin, accounting for nearly half of all the continent’s energy (47pc) followed by Denmark (22pc) and Germany (15pc).

Ireland, meanwhile, only makes up a meagre 0.38pc of the overall MW production output.

The top 3 countries feature particularly because of the North Sea’s suitability to wind energy and accounts for 72pc of all off-shore wind-energy production in Europe.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic