Wind energy has the potential to provide up to 30% of Europe’s power by 2030 according to figures released today by WindEurope in its Outlook to 2020 and Scenarios for 2030 reports.
According to WindEurope’s projections, Europe could be on course for an average installation rate of 12.6 GW per year in the years up to 2020, offshore will represent a quarter of installations. This would take Europe to a total of 204 GW by 2020. By this date wind would be Europe’s largest renewable energy source, surpassing hydro and providing 16.5% of Europe’s electricity demand.
With a quarter of the global market in the next four-year period, the EU could attract more installations than the US and India, but significantly less than China. This growth is likely to be concentrated in just six countries (Germany, UK, France, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium), that could represent over 3/4 installations in the next four years. Central and Eastern Europe lagging well behind.
The Scenarios for 2030 report illustrates that wind energy still has enormous growth potential. The Central Scenario shows that wind could reach a total of 323 GW, 253 GW onshore and 70 GW offshore. This would also include the repowering or life-extension of the roughly half of the EU’s existing wind capacity that is going to reach the end of its operational life before 2030. That would be more than double the capacity installed at the end of 2016 (160 GW). With this capacity, wind energy would produce 888 TWh of electricity, equivalent to 30% of the EU’s power demand.
Reaching this milestone will be possible if the right policies are in place and significant changes to the energy system are made. This includes greater certainty on long-term revenue stability; significant progress on the system integration of variable renewables including build-out of the grid and interconnectors; and clear policy commitments on electrification.
WindEurope’s High Scenario assumes favourable market and policy conditions including the achievement of a 35% EU renewable energy target. In this scenario, 397 GW of wind energy capacity would be installed in the EU by 2030, 298.5 GW onshore and 99 GW offshore. This would be 23% more capacity than in the Central Scenario and two and a half times more capacity than currently installed in the EU.
In the Low Scenario, however, there would be 256.4 GW of wind capacity in 2030, 207 GW onshore and 49 GW offshore, producing 21.6% of the EU’s power demand in 2030. That is 20% less capacity than in the Central Scenario.
Germany, France and the UK would have the most installed capacity, with 85 GW, 43 GW and 38 GW respectively. France would leapfrog the UK and Spain to second place thanks to the policies being put in place by the new government. Meanwhile Denmark, Ireland, Estonia and the Netherlands would form an exclusive club of countries sourcing more than 50% of their electricity from wind by 2030.
This growth would mean 382 tonnes of avoided CO2 emissions annually and unlock €239bn in investment from 2017-2030, enabling the wind industry to support 569,000 European jobs by 2030. It would also avoid the import of €13.2bn worth of fossil fuels per annum.
WindEurope CEO, Giles Dickson, said: “Wind energy is now firmly established as the cheapest form of new power generation. But the outlook from 2020 is uncertain. The industry needs binding and ambitious National Energy & Climate Action Plans that provide clarity on post-2020 volumes, which will allow cost reductions to continue. This requires a good outcome on the EU Clean Energy Package. With an ambitious European renewables target of at least 35% by 2030, the wind industry could deliver even bigger volumes at competitive cost.”