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EWEA Activities, BB200801

Wind energy leads EU power installations in 2007, but national growth is inconsistent

05.02.2008

In 2007 wind capacity grew more in Europe than any other power-generating technology*, an increase driven by Spain. Statistics released today by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) show that the installed capacity of wind power increased by 18% last year to reach a level of 56,535 MW (Megawatts). Despite this, some EU countries did not grow as expected.

The total capacity of new wind turbines brought on line across the European Union last year was 8,554 MW, an increase of 935 MW on the 2006 total. Total wind power capacity installed by the end of 2007 will avoid about 90 million tonnes of CO2 annually and produce 119 Terawatt hours in an average wind year, equal to 3.7% of EU power demand. In 2000, less than 0.9% of EU electricity demand was met by wind power.

“It is positive that wind energy is now increasing more than any other power technology in Europe. The market is up by 12% compared to 2006 but if we exclude Spain from the figures, the European market for wind turbines shows a small decline”, commented Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive.

Indeed, Spain set a new record in 2007, installing 3,522 MW – the highest amount of any European country in any year ever. 10% of its electricity now comes from wind. There was also sustained growth in France – which added 888 MW to reach 2,454 MW – and Italy, with 603 MW more and a total of 2,726 MW. The new Member States performed well and increased installed capacity by 60%, with Poland, the most successful, reaching a total of 276 MW. The Czech Republic installed 63 MW, its best year ever, and Bulgaria 34 MW.

Nevertheless, a handful of markets pulled in the opposite direction including Germany, Portugal and the UK. As a result, the overall market growth in 2007 – 12% - was not as striking as it could have been. The global market for wind turbines grew by approximately 30% last year to 20,000 MW, and European companies continue to lead the market which is estimated to have been worth some €25 billion in 2007.

The change of pace in some countries can be explained by a mixture of slow administrative processes, problems with grid access and legislative uncertainty. “Spain - like Germany and Denmark before her – has taken the lead. There is no doubt in my mind that a swift approval by the 27 Member States and the European Parliament of the Commission’s proposed renewable energy directive would pave the way for an equally massive expansion of wind energy in other Member States”, said Christian Kjaer.

Wind power continued to be one of the most popular electricity generating technologies in the EU in 2007, making up 40% of total new power installations. Since 2000, the EU has installed 158,000 MW of new power capacity. New gas installations totalled 88,000 MW; wind energy 47,000 MW; coal 9,600 MW; oil 4,200; hydro 3,100; biomass 1,700 MW; and nuclear 1,200 MW over the eight-year period, according to figures from Platts PowerVision and EWEA.

- For a map, tables and charts showing the statistics for 2007, click here

* Net capacity additions (and net reductions) 2007:
Wind power 8,504 MW; Gas 8,226 MW; Coal (-750 MW); Nuclear (-1,203 MW)
Source: Platts PowerVision and EWEA

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