Wind power technology worth €5.8 billion (US$6.2 billion) was installed throughout the EU in 2002 according to new figures released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).Brussels, Belgium – February 7, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] 5,871 Megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity was added to European electricity grids last year. This is a 31 percent increase over the previous year where 4,493MW came online. “Europe is reinforcing its global leadership in wind technology,” said Corin Millais, CEO of EWEA. “The European market has grown by an average 35 percent per year over the past five years, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Given the right conditions the global wind power market could be worth €25 billion (US$ 27 billion) a year by 2010,” Total installed wind power capacity grew 33 percent in the EU countries to 23,056 MW by December 2002. The electricity production from this is equivalent to burning 20 million tons of coal in a conventional power plant. Germany, Spain and Denmark accounted for almost 90 percent of the wind power capacity installed in 2002. With 3,247 MW, Germany accounted for 55 percent of the installed capacity reaching a total of 12,001 MW by the end of 2002, enough to meet 4.7 percent of national electricity needs from wind power. Spain followed with 1,493 MW to reach a total of 4,830 MW. Denmark installed 497 MW to reach 2,880 MW, enough to meet 20 percent of the country’s electricity needs. Also Netherlands (217 MW) and Italy (103 MW) reached three-digit figures for installation in 2002, according to EWEA. “The industry is capable of continuing these high growth rates, but we need additional political backing beyond Germany, Spain and Denmark, which account for 89 percent of the 2002 market,” said Millais. “In these three countries, thriving industries and tens of thousands of jobs have been created. These successes could be rapidly replicated in other countries; wind power is a multi-billion euro business sector primed for expansion.” The European Wind Energy Association recently launched its strategic blueprint, Wind Force 12. It demonstrates that there are no technical, economic or resource limitations to supply 12 percent of the world’s electricity needs with wind power alone by 2020. Wind Force 12 outlines that by 2010 the wind power industry is capable of reaching 230,000 MW of generating capacity worldwide, 100,000 MW in Europe. By 2010 annual turnover in the global wind industry could reach €25 billion (US$ 27 billion), assuming stronger political commitment and changes in energy policies worldwide. By 2020, Wind Force 12 envisions a total global installation of 1.2 million MW, annual turnover of €67 billion (US$ 72 billion), the creation of 1.5 million jobs and a cumulative carbon dioxide saving of 12 billion tons.