Wind power could meet a quarter of all of Europe’s electricity demand by 2030 if constituent members deliver on their climate and energy pledges.
These are the primary findings from the latest forecasts made by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), published Wednesday. Specifically, according to the Central Scenario published in EWEA’s Wind energy scenarios for 2030 report, 320 GW of wind energy capacity is expected to be installed by 2030, made up of 254 GW of onshore wind and 66 GW of offshore wind. This would account for more than twice as much as the 129 GW installed by 2014, and an increase of two-thirds from the 192 GW which is expected to be completed by 2020.
With this much capacity installed, the EWEA predicts the European wind energy industry will produce 778 TWh of electricity, which equates to 24.4% of the European Union’s total electricity demand. This compares to the current state of affirs, with an install base of 128.8 GW meeting around 10% of European electricity demand in a normal wind year.
Looking at it a little deeper, a wind energy industry with this much capacity will provide over 334,000 direct and indirect jobs across the European Union, and be worth €474 billion, with over 96,000 wind turbines installed on land and in the sea, avoiding emissions of 436 million tonnes of CO2.
The Central Scenario forecasts, however, are reliant upon a number of factors, primarily centered around the political and regulatory sphere of influence, including the need for a clear governance structure backing the European Union-wide 27% renewables target by 2030 that was agreed upon in 2014.
“Wind energy will be the backbone of the European power sector when we reach the end of next decade,” said Kristian Ruby, Chief Policy Officer of the European Wind Energy Association. “The regulatory framework is a key driver in guaranteeing investor certainty. If policy makers get it right, the wind sector could grow even more. If they don’t, we will fall short to the detriment of investments, employment and climate protection.”
“Three key challenges must be tackled,” Ruby explained. “A renewable energy directive with a strong legal foundation for renewables in the post-2020 space; a reformed power market tailored to renewable energy integration and, finally, a revitalised Emissions Trading System that provides a clear signal to investors by putting a meaningful price on carbon pollution.”
The full text of the report is available here (PDF).
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