Another Record Year for European Wind Power

New figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) reveal another record year for wind power in Europe. During 2001 4,500 MW of wind power capacity was added to European electricity grids, bringing the total installed wind power capacity in Europe to more than 17,000 MW – an increase of more than 35 percent. In 2000, 3,500 MW of wind power capacity was installed in Europe.

BRUSSELS, Belgium, 2002-02-25 [] The 17,000 MW will produce approximately 40 terawatt hours (40 billion kilowatt hours) of electricity annually, equal to the electricity consumption of 10 million average European households. Had that amount of electricity been produced at coal-fired power plants, it would have required the burning of 16 million tons of coal. The electricity production from the 17,000 MW installed capacity in Europe will prevent the emission of 24 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Once again, Germany added the most capacity, adding approximately 2,650 MW, which brings the total installed wind power capacity in Germany to 8,750 MW. Fifty percent of all European wind power was generated in Germany at the beginning of 2002 and wind power now accounts for almost 3.5% of German electricity consumption. A few days after the German figures for 2001 were made public, the German government announced an ambitious plan to boost wind power‚s share of electricity consumption to “at least 25 percent by 2025”. The majority of this will come from 20-25,000 MW offshore wind capacity in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. “Within a generation one fourth of our current electricity needs will be generated with environmentally-friendly wind power,” said environment minister Jürgen Trittin. With installed capacity in excess of 1,000 MW, Spain was the second largest European market for wind power in 2001. The regions of Galicia, Navarra, Castilla la Mancha, Aragón, and Castilla León continue to lead the development. With more than 3,300 MW, Spain is now the second largest European market in terms of total installed capacity. Denmark dropped from second to third with a total of more than 2,400 MW installed wind power capacity by the end of 2001. Italy increased its total installed capacity by more than 60percent, adding 270 MW during 2001 to reach a total of 700 MW. Greece added 83 MW, the UK 68 MW and Sweden 59 MW during 2001. More than 6,000 MW of wind power capacity was added worldwide in 2001, including a record installation of 1,700 MW wind power capacity in the US. For comparison, 1,748 MW of new nuclear capacity was connected to the grid worldwide in 2001, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency‚s Power Reactor Information System. Total wind power capacity in the world is now estimated at more than 24,000 MW.


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