Wind power in the European Union (EU) has surpassed 100 gigawatts according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). This is enough electricity generated per year to meet the total needs of 57 million households. The installation of wind power is accelerating: it took 20 years to install the first 10 gigawatts; 13 years to add another 90 gigawatts.
“It would require burning 72 million tonnes of coal annually in coal fired power plants to match Europe’s annual wind energy production,” said Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA. “Loading that amount of coal on trains would require 750,000 wagons with a combined length of 11,500 kilometres – the distance from Brussels to Buenos Aires, Argentina.”
Kjaer continued, “Despite only utilising a tiny fraction of Europe’s vast domestic wind energy resources, wind power is having a substantial impact on Europe’s energy security and environment, and benefits us hugely in creating green jobs and technology exports.”
Recent wind turbine installations contributing to the 100 GW milestone include:
- Anholt offshore wind farm, 400 MW developed by DONG off the coast of Denmark;
- Linowo, 48 MW developed by EDF Energies Nouvelles Polska in Poland;
- Ausumgaard, 12 MW developed by a private landowner in Denmark (west Jutland); and
- Akoumia, 7.2 MW developed by Greek power company PPCR on the island of Crete.
A few other stats: 100 gigawatts of wind power can produce the same amount of electricity over a year as 62 coal power plants, 39 nuclear power plants or 52 gas power plants. To produce the same amount of electricity it would requiring the mining, transporting and burning of 72 million tonnes of coal, at a cost of € 4,983 million, and emit 219.5 Mt of CO2, or would requiring extracting, transporting and burning 42.4 million cubic meters of gas, at a cost of € 7,537 million, and emit 97.8 Mt of CO2.