Fri, Feb

A Closer Look At Wind Power Installations

Industry Insights

 Total installed power capacity

Annual wind power installations in the EU have increased steadily over the past 15 years from 3.2 GW in 2000 to 12.8 GW in 2015, a CAGR of 9%.

National breakdown of wind power installations

2015 showed important variations between countries in their capacity additions. Germany led with over 6 GW newly installed, reflecting the traditional size and strength of its wind energy market. Three factors facilitated growth: effective policies, the connec- tion of large amounts of offshore capacity installed but not grid-connected in 2014, and a desire by the industry to complete installations before Germany moves to market- based arrangements in 2017. Similarly, Polish developers made use of existing policies and installed over 1,200 MW before the new scheme applies in 2016.

By contrast, the lack of political visibility and ineffective regulations led in some countries to fewer installations in 2015 than in previous years.  In particular, Spain, which has  been a very strong market, saw new installations fall to zero as a result of inadequate policies. The wind energy industry suffered from changing regulations also in Romania. Stable regulatory frameworks and visibility therefore remain imperative to provide inves- tors with certainty and growing wind power in all parts of Europe.

Onshore and offshore annual markets

New offshore wind installations more than doubled in 2015 compared to 2014, with 3,034.5 MW of new gross capacity grid-connected. Offshore wind power installations represented 24% of the annual EU wind energy market, up from 13% in   2014.

Cumulative wind power installations

A total of 141.6 GW is now installed in the European Union due to a record growth of 9.7 % in 2015. Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed capacity, followed by Spain, the UK, France and Italy. Eleven other EU countries have over 1 GW of installed capacity: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Sweden.

Four of the latter (Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Portugal), have more than 5 GW installed.

The European wind energy association

Germany (44.9 GW) and Spain (23 GW) have the largest cumulative installed wind energy capacity in Europe. Together they represent 48% of total EU capacity. The UK, France and Italy follow with 13.6 GW (9.6% of total EU capacity), 10.4 GW (7.3%) and 9 GW (6.3%) respectively.

Thanks to this record year in annual installations, Poland, with 5.1 GW (3.6% of cumulative capacity), is now the seventh country per capacity installed, having overtaken Denmark and Portugal.

Wind power penetration

The wind energy capacity currently installed in the EU would produce in an average wind year 315 TWh of electricity, enough to cover 11.4% of the EU’s total electricity consumption1.

Investment highlights: trends and developments in 2015

2015 was a record year for investments in the wind energy sector. Financial commitments in new assets reached a total of €26.4 billion (bn), a 40% increase from 2014. While investments in  new  onshore wind generating assets increased  by  6.3%  in  2015, those in the offshore wind sector doubled compared to the previous year. In total, 9.7 GW of new gross capacity was financed.