EU reaches 100GW wind power milestone

The European Union has passed 100 gigawatt (GW) of installed wind power capacity, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

The EWEA said it took the European wind energy sector twenty years to get the first 10GW grid connected but added that it has taken just 13 years to increase it by an additional 90GW.

According to the EWEA, half of the total European wind power capacity has been installed over the past six years.

100GW of wind power can generate electricity over a year to meet the total consumption of 57m households, equivalent to the power production of 39 nuclear power plants.

Cumulative wind power installations in the EU (GW)

CEO of EWEA, Christian Kjaer, said: “It would require burning 72m tonnes of coal annually in coal fired power plants to match Europe’s annual wind energy production. Loading that amount of coal on trains would require 750,000 wagons with a combined length of 11,500 kilometres – the distance from Brussels to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“Despite only utilising a tiny fraction of Europe’s vast domestic wind energy resources, wind power is having a substantial impact on Europe’s energy security and environment, and benefits us hugely in creating green jobs and technology exports”, added Kjaer.

Recent wind turbine installations contributing to the 100GW milestone include, Anholt’s 400MW offshore wind farm, developed by DONG off the coast of Denmark and Linowo’s 48MW wind farm developed by EDF Energies Nouvelles Polska in Poland.

Comparing the result, EWEA said 100GW of wind power can produce the same amount of electricity over a year as 62 coal power plants, 39 nuclear power plants, or 52 gas power plants.

Leigh Stringer

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