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Policy News, BB200802

Wind energy market growth in the EU in 2007


In 2007 net wind capacity grew more in Europe than any other power-generating technology, an increase driven by Spain. Statistics released in early February 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.

Wind energy continued to be one of the most popular sources of new power generation in the European Union during 2007, making up 40% of all new installations. Its capacity grew more than any other power generating technology.

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. The capacity installed by the end of 2007 will produce 119 Terawatt hours of electricity in an average wind year. This is equal to 3.7% of EU power demand. In 2000, less than 0.9% of the EU’s demand was met by wind power. It will also avoid the annual emission of about 90 million tonnes of CO2.

Spanish record

By far the most impressive performance last year came from Spain. A record 3,522 MW of turbines were installed - the largest figure ever - representing 40% of the European total. The Spanish success story has resulted from a clear national incentive framework for renewable energy and strong regional targets.

The other leading countries were Germany (1,667 MW of new capacity), France (888 MW), Italy (603 MW), Portugal (434 MW) and the United Kingdom (427 MW). France increased its level of wind power to 2,454 MW, an indication that the incentive scheme and planning rules introduced some years ago are now working well.

Other countries that performed well were Sweden, which installed 218 MW to reach a total of 788 MW, and Poland, the most successful of the new member states, where a total of 276 MW is now operating. During 2007 the Czech Republic also installed 63 MW, its best year ever, and Bulgaria 34 MW.

“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. However, if we exclude Spain from the figures, the European market for wind turbines shows a small decline”, commented Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive.

Slowing markets

Indeed, a handful of markets pulled in the opposite direction to Spain last year, 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 field – the European market 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.

Increasing contribution

Wind power’s advance during 2007 has nonetheless enabled some of the largest European economies to achieve an increasing contribution to their national electricity supply. Spain now gets 10% of its electricity from the wind, Germany 7.2%.

In global terms, Europe currently contributes 61% of the world’s wind energy capacity, which has now reached a level of more than 94 GW, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. 20 GW of this was installed in 2007.

EWEA is confident that an even larger commitment would be made by the European wind industry if the existing barriers limiting the speed of development were removed. Key to this would be speedy approval by the European Union of the renewable energy directive presently being debated.

“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.

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

European Wind Energy Map

A comprehensive European Wind Energy Map is being produced by La Tene Maps in collaboration with EWEA. The map will feature all onshore and offshore wind farms of more than 1 MW capacity in the EU27 member states and non-EU European countries, with details of operators and installed capacity. The map will be distributed at the European Wind Energy Conference 2008 in Brussels.



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