Aiming high: rewarding ambition in wind energy
With 392 GW installed, wind energy can be the single largest source of power generation in the EU by 2030 ahead of coal and gas. Wind energy already plays a significant role in the European power sector. In 2014, the wind industry installed 11,791 MW in the EU - more than gas and coal combined. Today wind energy can meet 10.2% of Europe’s electricity demand with a cumulative capacity of 128.8 GW at the end of 2014. Wind power plants across Europe are operating on a similar scale as traditional thermal power generation, delivering clean, affordable and reliable electricity to European citizens. This deployment has been underpinned by the development of an industrial base making Europe the global leader in wind energy. The industry has taken strides in cutting technology costs and the finance community sees wind energy as an increasingly valuable asset. Keeping this momentum will be critical to the EU’s standing as the global leader in renewables. Europe should capitalise on its first-mover advantage in developing wind energy, the most cost-effective climate change mitigation technology. A global climate deal in Paris in December 2015 is only the beginning of a long endeavour to address our climate change challenge as parties will start implementing their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. This will open new markets for renewables and other climate change mitigation technologies. To benefit over the long term from its competitive advantage, Europe will need to showcase a successful energy transition building on the large scale deployment of wind energy. This report quantifies the impacts of the Central and High Scenarios laid out in EWEA’s Wind Energy Scenarios for 2030.