A new report from the European Commission has concluded that wind power is the renewable energy technology with the largest and most successful deployment over the last 20 years.
The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) released the third edition of its annual report on wind energy technology, market, and economy in Europe and the world late last month, highlighting the impressive growth of wind energy, which grew from 3 GW two decades ago to 370 GW of global cumulative capacity by the end of 2014.
In Europe specifically, wind energy accounts for 130 GW (both onshore and offshore) of electricity generation connected to the grid, with Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Romania, and Germany generating between 10% and 40% of their electricity from wind.
The report further suggests that wind energy will provide for at least 12% of Europe’s electricity generation by 2020, going a long way to the region’s 20/20/20 goals.
Specifically, the global wind energy market in 2014 reached 52.8 GW of newly installed capacity, according to the JRC report, with 13 GW installed in the European Union. This brought global cumulative capacity up to 370 GW, and Europe’s cumulative capacity up to 129 GW, which produces 265 TWh of electricity in an average year.
Manufacturers are benefiting from this growth in popularity and capacity installation, some of whom were in dire financial straits just two years ago. Vestas returned to the top of the pile in 2014 in terms of installed capacity, followed by Siemens, while China had four firms amongst the top 10.
Turbine and project prices for onshore development continued to drop in 2014, while “the increasing need to integrate large amounts of variable renewable electricity into the electricity system and market, 2014 saw regulatory support for wind swinging towards market-linked and/or market-like structures (e.g. tenders/auctions) to replace feed-in tariffs.”