Wind energy statistics and targets

Did you know?

  • The wind power capacity installed by the end of 2009 will, in a normal wind year, produce 4.8% of the EU's electricity.
  • In 2009, for the second year running, more wind power was installed than any other power generating technology, accounting for 39% of total new installations.
  • Over 10 GW of wind power capacity was installed in 2009 - 23% more than in 2008.
  • Europe's wind energy in 2009 avoided 106 million tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to taking 25% of cars in the EU off the road.
  • Wind energy saves Europe €6 billion per year in avoided fuel costs.
  • In 2009, 2.8% of Europe's total wind power was offshore.
  • 192,000 people in the EU are employed by the wind industry.
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New installed capacity and de-commissioned capacity in EU 2009 in MW. Total 25,963 MW

Wind Energy Capacity
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In 2020, EWEA's targets are for:
230 GW installed wind capacity in Europe: 190 GW onshore and 40 GW offshore
This would:
  • Produce 14 - 17% of the EU's electricity - depending on total demand.
  • Avoid 333 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • Save Europe €28 billion a year in avoided fuel costs and €8.3 billion a year in avoided CO2 costs.

In 2030, EWEA's targets are for:
400 GW installed wind capacity in Europe: 250 GW onshore and 150 GW offshore
This would:
  • Produce 26-35% of the EU's electricity - depending on total demand.
  • Avoid 600 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • Save Europe €56 billion a year in avoided fuel costs[1] and €15 billion a year in avoided CO2 costs[2]
What needs to happen?
  • The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive, which sets a target of 20% renewables in the EU by 2020, must be effectively and rapidly implemented by Member States.
  • To meet the binding energy target, the share of renewable electricity in the EU must increase from 15% to at least 34% by 2020.
  • A European supergrid must be created by extending and upgrading the existing European electricity network.
  • Competition in the electricity market needs to be improved.
  • Polluters must pay for emitting CO2, either through carbon taxes or an Emissions Trading System with full auctioning of allowances.
  • Research funding for wind energy must be increased substantially.
1. Assuming IEA 'World Energy Outlook 2008' forecast: fuel cost equivalent to $110/bbl of oil).
2. Assuming €25/t CO2.
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Wind energy saves europe billions
By 2030 wind should produce 26-35% of the EU's electricity and save
Europe €56 billion a year in avoided fuel costs.
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Zero carbon wind energy

Did you know?

  • Wind energy replaces polluting fossil fuels, and can be deployed and begin reducing CO2 emissions immediately.
  • In 2009, wind power in the EU avoided the emission of 106 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking 25% of cars in the EU 53 million vehicles off the road.
  • In 2009, wind power in the EU avoided the emission of 106 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking 25% of cars in the EU 53 million vehicles off the road.
  • The marginal cost of wind power is minimal, so an increase in the amount of wind power in the electricity mix means more expensive and polluting technologies (oil, coal and gas) are pushed out of the market.
  • It takes a wind turbine three to six months to produce the energy that goes into producing, operating and recycling the wind turbine after its 20 to 25 year lifetime.
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Lifecycle greenhouse gases emissions per technology (g/kWh)

Lifecycle greenhouse
Source: Mark Jacobson - Stanford University - February 2009

Average CO2 emissions from fossil fuel in EU

Average CO2
Source: IEA – World Energy Outlook 2008 - Emissions from fossil fuels
Wind energy emits no CO2 in generating electricity, and has the lowest lifecycle emissions of any energy technology.
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The EU's Emissions Trading System:
  • Puts a cost on emitting CO2. By auctioning permits to the power sector for emitting CO2 from 2013, major polluters will have to pay for releasing greenhouse gases.
  • This sends a clear message to investors: the cost of climate change, currently borne by society, will be increasingly shifted towards the polluter.
What is more:
  • Wind energy emits no other greenhouse gases or air pollutants.
  • It emits no particles (PM) which are carcinogenic and severely affect human health.
What do we need internationally?
  • The EU to keep on leading the way on climate change.
  • An international legally binding agreement on emissions reductions to be agreed as soon as possible to keep temperatures under the 2°C rise considered essential to avoid dangerous climate change.
  • As part of an international agreement, the EU and other industrialised countries to commit to at least 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1990, with at least three-quarters of that coming from domestic action.
  • By 2020, we need an overall global reduction of 25%-40% and by 2050 of 80-95% to give us a 50% chance of avoiding the 2°C temperature rise.
  • The more advanced developing countries must end the use of fossil fuels and move rapidly to a renewable energy economy, with ambitious 2020 renewable targets.
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Climate change
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Environmentally friendly energy

Did you know?

  • Wind energy emits no greenhouse gases or air pollutants.
  • Wind energy can have positive local effects on biodiversity, and offers an opportunity to practice ecological restoration onshore and offshore, such as creation of new vegetation and animal habitats, improved fish stocks and other marine life.
  • Wind farm developers are required to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment to gauge all potential environmental effects before construction.
  • Potential environmental impacts can be avoided and minimised by careful planning and siting, mitigation and compensation measures.

What about birds and bats?

  • Wind power's overall impact on birds, bats, other wildlife and natural habitats is extremely low, compared with other human (and feline)-related activities.
  • Bird protection NGOs recognise climate change as the main threat to bird species and wind energy is a key solution to climate change.
  • Extensive efforts are made to avoid siting wind farms in areas which might attract large numbers of birds or bats, such as migration routes.
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Causes of bird mortalityAnnual bird mortality estimate
Buildings/windows550 million
High tension lines130 million
Cats100 million
Vehicles80 million
Pesticides67 million
Communication towers4.5 million
Wind turbines28.5 thousand
Aeroplanes25 thousand
Source: Ericksonn W., Johnson, G. and Young, D. (2005)
Wind power's impact on wildlife and natural habitats is extremely low,
with other human (and feline) activities.
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Are wind farms popular

Are turbines noisy?

  • Noise from turbines is rarely heard at distances further away than 300m. Background noise from wind in trees, for example, would be louder.
  • A Canadian study found "there is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects."[1]
  • The French Agency for Sanitary Security, Environment, and Work (AFSSET) concluded "noise generated by wind turbines does not have any direct health impact."

Do wind farms affect nearby property prices?

  • According to a 2009 US Department of Energy funded report, there is no statistical evidence of changes in property values from wind energy projects.

What benefits do wind farms bring to local communities?

  • Renting out land for wind farms can provide income.
  • Local and regional taxes obtained from wind energy can enhance services.
  • Jobs in maintaining turbines. The jobs and other benefits may help enhance property prices.
1 'Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects: An Expert Panel Review', by W. David Colby, M.D. Robert Dobie, M.D. Geoff Leventhall, Ph.D. David M. Lipscomb, Ph.D. Robert J. McCunney, M.D. Michael T. Seilo, Ph.D. Bo Søndergaard, M.Sc.
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Source/activityIndicative noise level (dB)
Threshold of hearing0
Rural night-time background20-40
Quiet bedroom35
Wind farm at 350m35-45
Busy road at 5km35-45
Car at 65km/h at 100m55
Busy general office60
Conversation60
Truck at 50km/h at 100m65
City traffic90
Pneumatic drill at 7m95
Jet aircraft at 250m105
Threshold of pain140
Source: CIEMAT
Noise from wind in trees is louder than wind turbines at 300m.
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Competitiveness wind energy

Did you know?

  • Because wind power uses no fuel, its cost can be predicted with great certainty unlike the fluctuations in the price of oil, gas, coal or carbon.
  • The increase in the price of a barrel of oil from $20 to $80 has added $45 billion to the EU's annual gas import bill.
  • In 2008, wind power avoided fuel costs of €6.5 billion and CO2 costs of €2.3 billion.

What about the future?

  • Wind power will avoid carbon costs of €8.3 billion in 2020 and €15 billion in 2030.
  • Wind energy will avoid fuel costs of €27.7 billion in 2020 and €55.5 billion in 2030.

Can wind make a difference to our economy?

  • Wind power can reduce the electricity price because it has a low marginal cost, pushing out more expensive power generating technologies from the market.
  • Investing in wind means that money going to fuel-exporting nations is put to work at home. In 2008, European manufacturers had a 60% share of the global market for wind turbines.
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Wind energy the difference!
Photo: Oetkler.
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Wind energy generates green jobs

Did you know?

  • Wind power generates jobs ranging from manufacturing to project management.
  • The European wind energy sector employs 192,000 people.
  • Between 2002 and 2007, direct employment in the sector increased by 125% - an average of 33 new jobs every day, seven days a week in Europe.
  • Jobs in wind energy have transformed cities and regions such as Bremerhaven in Germany, Nakskov in Denmark and Navarre in Spain.

What about the future?

  • There should be 446,000 jobs in wind in Europe by 2020, and 479,000 by 2030.
  • According to the European Commission the green energy sector could create 2.8 million new jobs and add 1.1% to GDP growth if the EU's 2020 renewables target is met.
  • The wind industry needs more people to fill the available and future jobs schools and universities need to promote careers in renewables, and training must be provided to allow workers to transfer to the wind power sector.
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Wind energy sector employment (2008-2030)

Wind Energy Employment Figures

Onshore wind enegryOnshore143,782148,057200,870290,276228,104185,478
Offshore wind enegryOffshore11,41534,23281,489156,143238,879293,746
Source: EWEA
European wind power = European jobs
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Wind energy research and technology

Did you know?

  • Europe is the global leader in wind energy technology, yet before 2002 only 1% of EU energy research funds were allocated to wind energy.
  • The European Commission's 2009 Communication "Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies" proposes investing €6 billion of private and public funds in wind power research between 2010 and 2020.
  • Europe is the global leader in wind energy technology, although in 2007 the European Commission provided only 3% of R&D investment in wind energy, while 76% came from the private sector.

Key areas for wind energy research:

  • Improving the design and layout of wind farms.
  • Increasing the reliability, accessibility and efficiency of wind turbines.
  • Optimising the maintenance, assembly and installation of offshore turbines and their substructures.
  • Demonstrating large wind turbine prototypes and large, interconnected offshore wind farms.
  • New methods of grid management to allow high levels of wind power in the system.
  • Expansion of education schemes and better training facilities.
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Evolution wind turbines
In 25 years wind energy technology has developed enormously.
With more R&D investment it can continue to become even more efficient
and high performing.
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Wind energy scotish goverment policy

Did you know?

  • Scottish Government Policy on renewable energy sources has altered to a new target to generate 80% of Scotland's electricity from renewables by 2020, with an interim target of 31 per cent by 2011. The previous target had been 40% by 2020.
  • The 2011 target equals 5,000 Megawatts in installed capacity, twice as much as capacity at the recent Green Energy Day.
  • The key driver for renewable energy policy is the legally binding EU 2020 Targets (20% of EU's energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020). This has informed Scottish and wider UK renewable energy targets.
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