Wind Dominates in Europe Again

The European Wind Energy Association released statistics on newly installed wind in 2009. The number demonstrates clearly that other sources of generation are threatened by wind.

Wind was the number one source of new capacity, at 39%, with over 10,000 MW installed. Natural gas was in second place at 26%, and solar photovoltaic was third at 16%. There was more nuclear and coal capacity decomissioned than built. Fully 61% of the newly installed electrical generation capacity in Europe was renewable, including biomass, and hydro.

The installed capacity of wind in Europe rose by 10,000 MW, an increase of over 15%. Wind now produces 4.8% of Europe’s electricity. The new installation of wind is similar to the United States, which also installed 10,000 MW of wind, which accounted for 40% of America’s newly installed generation capacity in 2009.

It is remarkable that this level of activity occured during a year of such financial turmoil, where obtaining financing for any project was extremely difficult, especially in the first half of the year.

The shift away from fossil and nuclear toward renewable energy is continuing to accelerate around the world. As capital stock turns over and is replaced, wind will contribute an even greater share of our electricity.

Perhaps it is time for the wind naysayers to concede that wind is emerging as a major contributor to our electricity supply, and work toward optimizing its use, instead of clinging to the old fossil and nuclear paradigm.

Leave a Reply