The European Union (EU) installed 9.616 GW of wind energy capacity in 2011, bringing its total installed capacity to 93.957 GW – enough to supply 6.3% of the EU's electricity demand, according to new data released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
Representing 21.4% of new power capacity, wind energy installations in 2011 were very similar to the 9.648 GW installed in 2010, EWEA notes.
Growth in onshore installations in Germany and Sweden, and offshore in the U.K. – together with continuing strong performances from some emerging onshore markets, such as Romania – offset a fall in installations in mature markets such as France and Spain, EWEA explains. Overall, Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed capacity, followed by Spain, France, Italy and the U.K.
Despite a slight drop in new installed wind energy capacity, more renewable power capacity was installed during 2011 than any other year, EWEA notes, adding that renewables accounted for 71.3% of new installations. A total of 32.043 GW of renewable energy was added last year – up 37.7% from 2010. Both fuel oil and nuclear power saw a drop last year, with more capacity decommissioned than installed.
Last year, the EU's overall total installed power capacity increased by 35.468 GW net to 895.878 GW, with wind power increasing its share of installed capacity to 10.5% and renewable energy capacity increasing its share to 31.1%.
‘Despite the economic crisis gripping Europe, the wind industry is still installing solid levels of new capacity," says Justin Wilkes, EWEA's policy director. ‘But to achieve the EU's long-term targets, we need strong growth again in future years. It is critical to send positive signals to investors by European governments maintaining stable policies to support renewables and for the European Union to commit to putting in place a binding renewable energy target for 2030.’