The progress of wind energy

Wind technology has made major progression from the prototypes of just 25 years ago.

Wind energy has come of age, and now constitutes a mainstream power technology that is largely underexploited.

Two decades of technological progress have resulted in today’s wind turbines acting much more like conventional power stations, in addition to being modular and rapid to install.

At a given site, a single modern wind turbine annually produces 180 times more electricity and at less than half the cost per kWh than its equivalent twenty years ago.

The wind power sector includes some of the world’s largest energy companies.

Effective regulatory and policy frameworks have been developed and implemented in many countries, and Europe is the world leader in wind energy.

Whilst progress to date has been proven, it is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the true deployment potential of wind power.

Europe leads the world in developing wind energy as a pollution-free fuel for electricity generation. Over the past decade wind power has proved the most successful of all the new renewable sources.

  • In 1994 there was 1,683 MW of wind energy installed across the EU. By the end of 2005 the fi gure had increased 24 times to 40,504 MW
  • The average annual growth rate in cumulative installation over the past decade (1995-2005) was 32%
  • European companies are world leaders in the manufacturing of wind turbines and their components
  • Seven of the top ten turbine manufacturing companies are based in Europe. In 2004 they accounted for 82% of the global market for wind turbines.

Europe has installed 40,504 MW of wind energy by the end of 2005.

Between 2000 and 2030 total electricity consumption is expected to increase an expected 52% under a business-as-usual scenario.

The percentage contribution wind can make to European power supply is to a large degree infl uenced by the overall electricity consumption. This can be demonstrated by looking at the 965 TWh from wind power generated in 2030. In that year this will provide 22% of future European electricity needs, and is equal to 32% of present European electricity consumption.

The 300 GW would be half on shore and half offshore.


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