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Published on February 7th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


70% of New EU Power from Renewable Energy in 2011 (47% Solar, 21% Wind)

February 7th, 2012 by  

In total, wind and solar power were responsible for 68% of new European Union (EU) power installations in 2011 and renewable power as a whole was responsible for about 70%. Over 30,000 megawatts (MW) or 30 gigawatts (GW) of the 44,939 MW of new power capacity came from wind and solar—that’s a 37.7% increase over 2010 and sets a new record for the EU.

96% of renewable power growth was from wind and solar power, as the pie chart below shows.

“Since 2000, 28.2% of new capacity installed has been wind power, 47.8% renewables, and 90.8% renewables and gas combined,” the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), which produced these graphics, reported. Here’s a chart of power generating capacity and renewable energy’s share of that since 1995 (click to enlarge):

(What’s particularly striking in that chart above, I think, is PV’s boom.)

And these two charts shows EU power capacity mix in 2000 compared to 2011 (click to enlarge):

eu power capacity mix 2000 2011


Solar PV was the leader in new power installations in 2011, accounting for 21 GW (46.7%) of new power capacity, as you can see above, but I haven’t seen much detail on that yet, as all the info I have is from EWEA.


With 9,616 MW of new wind power installed in 2011, the EU now has 94 GW of wind power capacity installed, 11% more than in 2010. In total, wind power accounted for over one-fifth (21.4%) of new power installations in the EU in 2011.

This is very slightly less than the amount of new wind power installed in 2010, 9,648 MW.

In total, wind power now accounts for about 10.5% of installed power capacity in the EU, and renewable energy accounts for 31.3%. Its 94,000 MW today is incomprehensibly more than the 814 MW it had installed back in 1995.

The countries with the most installed wind power in the EU are:

  1. Germany (29.1 GW — 31%)
  2. Spain (21.7 GW — 23%)
  3. France (6.8 GW — 7%)
  4. Italy (6.7 GW — 7%)
  5. UK (6.5 GW — 7%)

Of new power, the leaders in 2011 were the same but in different order:

  1. Germany (2,086 MW — 22%)
  2. UK (1,293 MW — 13%)
  3. Spain (1,050 MW — 11%)
  4. Italy (950 MW — 10%)
  5. France (830 MW — 9%)

“Growth in onshore installations in Germany and Sweden, and offshore in the UK – together with continuing strong performance from some emerging onshore markets in Eastern Europe – have more than offset the fall in installations in mature markets such as France and Spain,” EWEA notes.

Here’s a more-detailed table on wind power changes across all EU countries:

wind power 2011

And here’s one for EU candidate and other European countries:

eu wind power

And, looking back a bit further, here’s newly installed wind power capacity info from 1995 to 2011 (click to enlarge):

And, lastly (on wind), here’s wind’s share of electricity consumption by EU member state (click to enlarge):

wind electricity consumption by eu country


However, 2011 did see more coal installed than decommissioned in 2011, for just the third time since 1998. EWEA notes that this is a clear sign the EU needs to move to a 30% renewable energy by 2020 target (instead of its current 20% target), which a recent study found would cost less than previously predicted, and which would also save the continent billions in the long run.

EWEA also says this highlights the urgent need to “introduce an Emissions Performance Standard, and to end decades of subsidies for new coal build and its fuel.”


Continuing a long trend, the EU did see more nuclear power decommissioned than installed. As you can see in the chart above, nuclear, especially, was decommissioned to a considerable degree.

Source: European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) 


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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