Germany installed more than 40% of the European Union’s wind power capacity in 2017, a year in which the sector installed more supplies than any other form of energy across the bloc. 15.7 GW of new power capacity was added last year, representing more than half of the total new power capacity – an increase by 20% over 2016. Germany itself installed 6.6 GW new wind power capacity or 42% of the EU’s total. The country also logged the highest annual increase of wind energy in electricity demand – from 16% to 20%.
Overall, Germany is the leader in the industry with the largest total installed power capacity, followed by the UK, France and Spain. In contrast, Denmark, meanwhile, is the country with the largest share of wind in its power mix, reaching 44% of the country’s electricity demand. More generally, renewable energies – wind and solar – accounted for an overwhelming majority of the new capacity added, accounting for about 85% of the total installed last year.
Thus, wind energy now accounts for 18% of the bloc’s total installed power generation capacity. At the same time, power production from fuel oil and coal-fired power plants declined as electricity firms continued to decommission more capacity than they installed. Supplies of gas-fired power were unchanged given the amount of decommissioned capacity almost equaling newly commissioned gas-fired generation capacity.
Giles Dickson, the CEO of WindEurope – a nonprofit organization promoting wind energy, said that the record 2017 performance was yet another proof that wind power is now mainstream and “delivers bang for your buck”. Yet, he also warned that the record was possible due to the fact that a “lot of the new projects were ‘pushed through the gates’ to benefit from feed-in-tariffs and other old support schemes while they still applied.”