The European Wind Energy Agency has released figures for 2014, showing that the European wind industry connected almost 12 GW to the grid, compared to coal and gas, which only managed to connect 3,305 MW and 2,338 MW respectively.
In comparison, the European wind industry increased capacity 3.8% year on year from 2013, bringing the EU’s cumulative installed wind energy capacity up to 128.8 GW.
“Europe is at a turning point for investment in renewables and particularly wind,” said Thomas Becker, chief executive officer of the European Wind Energy Association.” Plowing financial capital into the industries of old in Europe is beginning to look unwise. By contrast, renewables are pushing ahead and investments in wind remain attractive.”
The European wind energy figures came at the same time as the Global Wind Energy Council released its own 2014 figures, showing that the annual wind industry had grown by 44%, passing the 50 GW mark for the first time.
The European Wind Energy Association figures highlight the role Europe is playing on the global stage. According to the EWEA, renewable power plants accounted for 79.1% of all new installations during 2014, including bringing grid-connected wind power up to 10% coverage of the EU’s electricity consumption.
“These numbers very much show Europe’s continued commitment to renewable and wind energy. But this is no time for complacency,” said Becker. “The uncertainty over the regulatory framework for the energy sector is a threat to the continued drive toward sustainable and homegrown energy that will guarantee Europe’s energy security and competitiveness for the long-term.”
Germany and the UK accounted for 59.5% of all total EU wind energy installations in 2014, installing 5,279 MW and 1,736 MW respectively.
“What we’ve seen in 2014 is a concentration of the industry in key countries,” Becker said, adding “while markets in eastern and southern Europe continue to struggle in the face of erratic and harsh changes in the policy arena. We expect this concentration to continue into 2015.”