European Market for Wind Turbines Grows 23% in 2006
The market for European wind power capacity broke new records in 2006, according to the annual statistics issued by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) today. 7,588 MW of wind power capacity, worth some €9 billion, was installed last year in the EU, an increase of 23% compared to 2005.
The cumulative wind power capacity operating in the EU increased by 19% and now exceeds 48,000 MW. In an average wind year this will produce approximately 100 TWh of electricity, equal to 3.3% of total EU electricity consumption. For the seventh consecutive year, wind power is second only to gas-fired capacity (approximately 8,500 MW in 2006) in terms of new electricity generating installations.
Germany and Spain continue to attract the majority of investments. In 2006 these two countries represented 50% of the EU market. However, the figures confirm a healthy trend in the European market towards less reliance on Germany and Spain. In 2002, only 680 MW of European wind power capacity was installed outside the first-mover countries: Germany, Spain and Denmark. Last year, the figure was 3,755 MW.
‘Excluding the three pioneering countries – Germany, Spain and Denmark - we have experienced a six-fold increase in the annual market in four years. The figures clearly confirm that a second wave of European countries is investing in wind power. We are now witnessing the strong effect of the EU Renewable Electricity Directive passed in 2001 and, once again, urge the European Commission and the Council to introduce safeguard measures that ensure legal stability for renewable electricity in Europe. The figures released today confirm that sector-specific legislation is the most efficient way to boost renewable electricity production,’ says Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive, EWEA.
With 2,233 MW installed during 2006, a 23% increase compared to 2005, Germany passed the 20,000 MW mark.
Spain was the second largest market in 2006, with 1,587 MW. France moved up to third place in 2006 (from sixth place in 2005), with 810 MW installed during the year - more capacity than has previously been commissioned in the entire history of the French market. This reflects increasing success by developers in getting their projects off the ground.
Once again, Portugal performed well, with 694 MW of new capacity, more than in any previous year. With a further 1,063 MW already under construction, according to the research institute INEGI, the Portuguese market should be well on the way to meeting the government target of more than 3,750 MW by 2010.
With 634 MW installed in 2006, the UK also had another record year. Total installed capacity increased by 47%, taking one of Europe’s windiest countries close to 2,000 MW. The Italian market continued to perform well, with a further 417 MW installed, whilst Ireland set a new record with 250 MW, increasing its total capacity by 50%.
New wind power installations in the EU-10 tripled from 60 MW in 2005 to 183 MW in 2006, mainly driven by Poland, Lithuania and Hungary. Bulgaria installed 22 MW, while Romania connected 1.3 MW. Eight EU countries now have more than 1,000 MW of wind power capacity installed.
EWEA estimates that Europe accounted for approximately 50% of global wind power capacity installed during 2006. On Friday 2 February, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) will release its 2006 global statistics.