The EU has ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent and to generate 45 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2030. Wind energy has a significant role in reaching this target, but despite 2022 being a record year for wind installation, we still need to accelerate the development and step up the game in the next five years to fulfill the European ambition.
According to WindEurope's Wind Energy in Europe report, new wind installations in Europe amounted to a record 19.1 GW (16 GW in the EU) in 2022. This shows an increase of 4 per cent compared with the previous year, despite the challenging economic environment and supply chain difficulties. 87 per cent of new wind installations were onshore, with Germany, Sweden, and Finland building the most. Almost half the offshore installations were in the UK, and France installed its first large offshore wind farm, Saint Nazaire.
The capacity of the new installations is not the only record-breaking measure in 2022 though. Together, the EU and UK reached a record of 489 TWh absolute production. This amount covered 17 per cent of Europe's electricity demand. Impressive, yet a long way from the desired 36-50 per cent share of wind in the EU’s electricity mix by 2030.
The EU has a total of 204 GW installed wind power capacity with 188 GW (92 per cent) onshore and 16 GW (8 per cent) offshore. To reach the 2030 targets, the EU will need to catch up to an estimated 453 GW of wind energy capacity (374 GW onshore and 79 GW offshore) in the next five years. This would mean installing 30 GW new capacity per year – a significant gap to close.
The report states that permitting bottlenecks pose as the biggest barrier to the expansion of wind energy, but governments are now working to tackle these with the help of the new REPowerEU rules.
In its predictions for the next five years, WindEurope expects the EU to install 98 GW of new wind farms, three quarters of it onshore. This outlook predicts a compromise on the previously set ambitious targets.
As an industry, we share the ambitions and responsibility to get as far along in the green transition as we possibly can, as fast as we can. Join us at the WindEurope Conference 25-27 April in Copenhagen to discuss the future of wind energy, and how we can shape a sustainable and liveable world together.
VP People & Competencies
Wind Energy and Renewables Management, Denmark