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Wind energy in Europe in 2020: 15% of electricity in the EU was provided by wind power

The new edition of Wind energy in Europe report analyses European wind power market summarizing new installations and financing activity in 2020 and making a development forecast for the next five years (2021 to 2025).

According to the report, Europe has installed 14.7 GW of new wind capacity in 2020. Although this is down 6% from 2019 and 19% lower than predicted in pre-COVID times, the situation could have been worse due to pandemic-related restrictions. 80% of the new wind installations in 2020 were onshore.

10.5 GW of newly installed wind turbines in 2020 came from the European Union, which represents 71% of all installations in Europe. The EU needs to install 18 GW per year to meet existing wind energy targets in the National Energy and Climate Plans.

The leading country in Europe in 2020 was Netherlands with almost 2 GW of new installations, 75% of them represent offshore wind power. Despite the fact that Germany has not had the most successful year, recording the lowest figures since 2010, the country is still in second place with 1.6 GW of new wind power. Norway with 1.5 GW of onshore wind power was the third-largest market, followed by Spain with 1.4 GW (40% drop compared to 2019).  France rounds out the top five with 1.3 GW of new onshore wind installations. Other countries down the list are Turkey (1.2 GW), Sweden (1 GW), Belgium (0.8 GW), Poland (0.7 GW) and Russia (0.7 GW).

If it comes to the size and type of wind turbines installed in Europe, these parameters vary greatly from country to country. The most powerful onshore wind turbines were installed in Finland, with an average power rating of 4.5 MW. The Netherlands and Belgium had the most powerful new offshore turbines with an average rating of 8.7 MW.

In total, 220 GW of wind energy capacity is currently installed in Europe: 194 GW onshore and 25 GW offshore. Five countries together accumulate 65% of all wind power installations in Europe: Germany (63 GW), Spain (27 GW), the UK (24 GW), France (18 GW), and Italy (11 GW). Sweden, Turkey and the Netherlands also perform well with 10 GW, 9 GW and 7 GW, respectively.

Wind energy covered 15% of EU electricity demand in 2020. Denmark has the highest share of annual electricity demand covered by wind (48%), followed by Ireland (38%), Germany (27%), Portugal (25%), Spain (22%) and Sweden (20%). Outside the European Union, only two countries have relatively high numbers – the UK with 27% and Turkey with 8% of electric power represented by wind.  

According to realistic calculations made by experts, 105 GW of new wind power capacity will be installed in Europe over the next five years. The UK is expected to install a total of 18 GW, the largest amount of wind power capacity on the continent.