Thursday, July 5, 2007

Wind in Europe

From the Earth Policy Institute:

Europe continues to lead the world in total installed capacity with over 40,500 megawatts, or two-thirds of the global total. These wind installations supply nearly 3 percent of Europe’s electricity and produce enough power to meet the needs of over 40 million people. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has set a target to satisfy 23 percent of European electricity needs with wind by 2030. EWEA also notes that Europe has enough wind resources to meet the electricity demands of all of its countries.

Germany, the country with the most installed wind-generating capacity, now gets 6 percent of its electricity from its 18,400 megawatts of wind power. Spain, in second place with over 10,000 megawatts of capacity, gets 8 percent of its electricity from wind.

Denmark’s 3,100 megawatts of wind capacity meet 20 percent of its electricity needs, the largest share in any country. It ranks fifth in the world in installed capacity. Denmark is also the global leader in offshore wind power installations, with 400 megawatts of existing capacity. Globally, over 900 megawatts of offshore wind capacity will be installed by the end of 2006, all in Europe.

Comment: Denmark obviously deserves enormous admiration for managing to produce 20% of its electricity from wind, but as a country of only 5 million people, it is hard to see it as a model for the U.S. That Germany, with its population of more than 82 million, gets 6% of its electricity from wind is far more striking. However, according to Greenpeace, the average European household uses 4,667 kWh/year whereas the average US household uses 11,209 kWh/year, so unless we make some progress tackling our efficiency problems, we will have a very hard time achieving European percentages of renewable electricity.


Lindsay Sturman said...
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Lindsay Sturman said...

The best way to lower our energy consumption is to raise the cost. There is a bill before Congress to just that: