In 2013 the wind energy sector reached 117 GW of installed capacity in Europe, and would, in a normal wind year, produce 257 TWh of electricity, enough to cover 8% of the EU’s electricity consumption.
Water is a precondition for life, an indispensable resource for the economy, and it plays a fundamental role for the climate. Each EU citizen consumes 4,815 litres of water per day on average, including direct water use (household consumption) and indirect water use (water required to produce industrial and agricultural products) (Vanham & Bidoglio, 2013). All these uses include energy production.
During 2011 Europe spent €406 billion (bn) on importing fossil fuels rising to €545 bn in 2012. This is around three times more than the cost of the Greek bailout up to 2013. Europe imports over half its energy in the form of fossil fuels, resulting in exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices.
Financing offshore wind farms
The European offshore wind energy industry needs to attract between €90 billion and €123 billion by 2020 to meet its deployment target of 40 GW.
TWENTIES is a grids project that looks into how to operate grid systems with large amounts of wind and other renewables. It is the largest renewable energy project ever funded by the EU.
The aim of the TWENTIES project is to advance the development and deployment of new technologies which facilitate the widespread integration of more onshore and offshore wind power into the European electricity system by 2020 and beyond.
The next steps for EU climate and energy policy
The EU must decide as soon as possible on an energy and climate policy framework for 2030. This is so investors continue to invest, wind energy continues to grow and deliver all its benefits, and the EU can meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments of 80-95% by 2050 in the most cost-efficient way.
The EU wind energy sector skills gap
The European wind industry has grown rapidly. Installed capacity has increased from around 13 GW in 2000 to more than 100 GW in 2012. A consequence of this has been a failure for skills development to keep pace. This report shows that the European wind industry can play a key role in combatting unemployment.
Nearly 50,000 additional trained staff will be needed by the industry by 2030. By that year, operations and maintenance will become the greatest source of new jobs and demand for trained staff.
There is currently a shortage of 7,000 qualified personnel required by the European wind energy sector each year, a figure that could increase to 15,000 by 2030 if the number of graduates taking courses relevant to the industry does not rise.
The next step for offshore wind energy
Offshore wind is one of the fastest growing maritime sectors. Its installed capacity was 5 GW at end 2012, and by 2020 this could be eight times higher, at 40 GW, meeting 4% of European electricity demand. By 2030, offshore wind capacity could total 150 GW, meeting 14% of the EU’s total electricity consumption.
However, for this to happen, a supportive legislative framework is needed, and new offshore designs must be developed for deep water in order to tap the large wind potential of the Atlantic, Mediterranean and deep North Sea waters. Current commercial substructures are economically limited to maximum water depths of 40m to 50m. The ‘deep offshore’ environment starts at water depths greater than 50m.
United in tough times
In 2012, Europe’s wind energy industry was plunged into a crisis of regulatory uncertainty as governments, seeing renewables as an easy target for austerity measures, slashed or changed their support. Despite this, 2012 marked a historic milestone: reaching 100 GW of wind power capacity in the EU, meeting the power needs of 57 million households, equivalent to the output of 39 nuclear power plants – a remarkable success which was achieved during a period of extraordinary growth founded on firm political support.
Emerging European wind power markets
Eastern Winds examines the frontier of wind power development in Europe. The report deals with the prospects for wind power in central and eastern Europe, tackles financing and provides an in-depth analysis of 12 emerging wind power markets. Eastern Winds is also a tool for decision-makers highlighting bottlenecks, regulatory challenges and providing policy recommendations.