New wind capacity grows 20% in Europe

Europe had another record year for wind power in 2017, with new deployments growing 20% year-on-year, as further cost reductions and increased competition in auctions gave investors more capacity for less cash.

Data released Tuesday by WindEurope – the association for wind energy in Europe – reveals that a record 15,700 megawatts (MW) of new capacity were installed in Europe last year. Onshore wind capacity grew by 12,500 MW and offshore by 3,150 MW, Kallanish Energy learns.

The renewable technology accounted for 55% of the total new power capacity installations in 2017.

Seven countries hit their highest deployment rates: Germany (6,600 MW), UK (4,300 MW), France (1,700 MW), Finland (577 MW), Belgium (476 MW), Ireland (426 MW) and Croatia (147 MW).

In terms of new investments, European countries also reached a record, reaching final investment decision (FID) for 11,500 MW worth of projects, of which 9,000 MW are for onshore wind generation and 2,500 MW for offshore. They total €22.3 billion ($27.5 billion).

The statistics show Europe has capacity to generate 169,000 MW of wind power, mostly onshore (153,000 MW). Germany remains the largest wind power producer with 56,000 MW capacity, followed by Spain (23,000 MW), UK (19,000 MW) and France (14,000 MW).

Wind accounts for 18% of the European energy mix, closing in on natural gas. The biggest producers in terms of share on domestic power supply was Denmark with a 44% share, Ireland and Portugal with a 24% share and Germany with a 20% share, WindEurope said.

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