Denmark, climate summit host, tops wind power table
In the run-up to the crucial climate change talks in Copenhagen, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has published a league table showing which EU countries are best at exploiting CO2-cutting wind energy.
Spain, in fourth place, has half the wind power density of Germany. Portugal and Ireland are above the EU average wind power density.
Italy is not far below average, while France and the UK each have less than half of the EU's average density of wind power capacity. Romania, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus are floundering at the bottom of the league with next to zero wind power generation per km2.
The density of wind power per km is the best means of measuring and comparing the extent to which different countries exploit their wind power potential.
The future of wind power in Denmark looks bright as, according to an August 2009 survey carried out by an independent market research institute, 91% of Danes support the further development of wind power in their country.
If the eight geographically largest Member States had the same density of wind power capacity per km2 as Denmark, they would produce enough wind power to meet 19% of total EU-27 electricity demand and avoid 362 million tonnes of CO2 emissions - equivalent to meeting more than 30% of the EU's 2020 climate target.
"Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are European leaders in fighting climate change with wind-powered electricity" said Christian Kjaer, chief executive of EWEA.
"The figures released today also reveal the huge potential for wind power growth in most countries. Laggards in wind energy - including France, the UK, Sweden, Finland and Eastern European countries - can easily play catch-up," Kjaer added.
"The future of wind power in Europe lies in offshore as well as onshore wind power, and some of the pioneer countries will add wind power capacity just by repowering existing plants - replacing old smaller turbines with bigger, more powerful ones which are now available on the market" Kjaer said.
The report containing the just-published league table - entitled "Pure Power" and published today - also outlines EWEA's predictions for growth in wind power by 2020. The industry calculates that it can meet up to 16.6% of EU electricity demand by 2020, or 14.1% in a lower, business-as-usual scenario.
The eight geographically largest countries in the EU include Sweden and Finland as well as France, Germany, Spain, Italy, UK and Poland.
League table extracted from the Pure Power report: MW of wind energy capacity per 1,000 km2 (End 2008)
Czech Republic: 1.9
The full report can be found on the EWEA website