Global capacity grew to 370 gigawatts in 2014
FRISCO — Europe is now generating about 8 percent of its total energy usage from wind power, according to an annual report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.
If that doesn’t sound like a lot, here’s another way to look at it: Windpower generated enough electricity to cover the combined annual consumption of Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and Ireland. Thanks to the ever-decreasing costs of building new windpower facilities, the EU could be producing at least 12 percent of its annual power needs with turbines by 2020.
The report confirms that wind power has been the most widely deployed form of renewable energy in the past two decades, with the global cumulative capacity growing to 370 gigawatts in 2014. Last year represented an annual record with 52.8 GW of wind turbines capacity installed worldwide, a 48% percent increase compared to 2013 and 17 percent over the 2012 record of 45.2GW.
China alone added 23.2 GW of wind power, representing a market share of 44 percent. The EU still leads in cumulative capacity, with 129 GW of onshore and offshore wind installations allowing six countries — Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Romania and Germany — to generate between 10 and 40 percent of their electricity from wind.
European turbine manufacturers accounted for 78 percent of the non-China world market in 2014. In a context of high competition and diminishing turbine prices, manufacturers managed to improve their balance sheet thanks to better cost management and reduced raw materials costs. The cost of generating wind energy continues its downward trend, highly favored by a reduction in the cost of project financing
The European Union has articulated a “20-20-20” climate and energy goal, targeting a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, and 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency.
In October 2014 EU leaders agreed on new targets for 2030: domestic greenhouse gas reduction of at least 40 percent compared to 1990, and at least 27 percent for renewable energy and energy savings by 2030.