Saturday, February 11, 2017

90 Percent of New Power in Europe from Renewables

Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm in the UK. (Credit: StatKraft/flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Renewable energy sources made up nearly nine-tenths of new power added to Europe’s electricity grids last year, in a sign of the continent’s rapid shift away from fossil fuels.

But industry leaders said they were worried about the lack of political support beyond 2020, when binding EU renewable energy targets end.

Of the 24.5GW of new capacity built across the EU in 2016, 21.1GW — or 86 percent — was from wind, solar, biomass and hydro, eclipsing the previous high-water mark of 79 percent in 2014.

For the first time wind farms accounted for more than half of the capacity installed, the data from trade body WindEurope showed.  Wind power overtook coal to become the EU’s second largest form of power capacity after gas, though due to the technology’s intermittent nature, coal still meets more of the bloc’s electricity demand.

Germany installed the most new wind capacity in 2016, while France, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland and Lithuania all set new records for wind farm installations.

The total capacity added was 3 percent down on 2015, but a surge in offshore windfarms — which are twice as expensive as those built on land — being connected in Britain saw total, Europe-wide investment hit a record €27.5bn ($29.2 billion).

The biggest project was the Gemini windfarm off the Netherlands’ coast, which was connected to the grid last February and will be the world’s second largest offshore windfarm when finished this year.  Gemini was followed in size by two other offshore wind farms, Germany’s 582MW Gode Wind 1 and 2, and the Netherlands’ 144MW Westermeerwind project.

Read more at 90 Percent of New Power in Europe from Renewables

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