Renewables Dominate New Capacity Installations in Europe: 2011

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has a report on the new installation of wind and other technologies in 2011. Despite the European debt crisis, the continent continues its inexorable march to a renewable future.

Wind added 9,616 MW, a very similar amount to last year, bringing the total installed capacity to 93,957 MW. Installed wind capacity increased by 11%. The current installed wind capacity is estimated to supply 6.3% of electricity demand, up from 5.3% last year. Wind supplies over 25% of Denmark’s electricity, and over 15% of both Spain and Portugal. Both Ireland and Germany obtain more than 10% of their power from wind. Wind generates over 3% of electricity supply in 16 European countries. Ontario also obtains 3% of its supply from wind.

While wind’s market share increase is considerable, solar is extraordinary. There were 21,000 MW of new solar installed in 2011. This is the highest increase in capacity of all technologies. Gas came second at 9,718 MW, and wind was 9,616 MW. The installed capacity of nuclear dropped by almost 6000 MW. Overall, renewable technologies were 71.3% of new capacity installations.

The transformation of the European electricity grid to one based on renewables isn’t done yet. But it is well underway.

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