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Wind Energy Production: Europe Sets New Records

A windy February brought further wind energy production records in Europe: As new data from energy market analysts of EnAppSys show, wind power reaches an average capacity of 85.4 GW.

Stormy months lie behind Europe. They have not harmed electricity production. (Image: Pixabay)Stormy months lie behind Europe. They have not harmed electricity production. (Image: Pixabay)

At the moment one record is chasing the next: Already since November last year, the analysts of EnAppSys have been able to report new records in wind power production every month and February is no exception. On the contrary: 27% of Europe's electricity was generated by wind last month. Compared to February of the previous year, this represents an increase of 61% on average.

A look at the individual countries (graph below, source: EnAppSys) shows that Germany was in the lead with 29.1 GW, followed by the UK (approx. 9.6 GW) and France (approx. 8 GW). Although these countries have produced the most capacity, it was Denmark, Ireland and Germany which, at around 50 percent, accounted for the largest share of their electricity generation from wind energy.

Nevertheless, it shouldn't be forgotten that energy demand is constantly increasing, not only for the electricity sector but also for heat and mobility. This explains why the share of energy production from gas-fired power plants remains relatively stable from year to year. By contrast, energy generation from hard coal/lignite continues to decline, by 26 percent compared to the previous year.

Despite the current records, a further expansion of renewable energy capacities is therefore necessary. Last week, German think tank Agora Energiewende pointed out that by 2030 only 55 percent of the electricity mix in Germany will be generated from renewable energies, and not the 65 percent agreed upon in the coalition agreement. In order to close the looming green electricity gap, there is an urgent need for improvements in politics.

For Germany, this means that the target for offshore wind energy has to be raised from 20 to at least 25 gigawatts of capacity compared to previous plans, and either the annual solar expansion must be more than doubled to 10 gigawatts, or the expansion of onshore wind energy must rise again to its long-term level of 4 gigawatts. "If all this fails, higher wholesale electricity prices are to be expected, Germany would become increasingly dependent on electricity from abroad and CO2 emissions in the electricity sector would rise by 5 to 20 million tons per year," the experts say.

Therefore, an interaction of all types of renewable energy generation is necessary. The current British government around Boris Johnson (image right, source: Pixabay) has announced the intention to revive onshore wind power, which had been scorned for many years. This is the only way to meet the growing demand for energy plus implementing measures such as a coal phase-out or the achievement of net zero emissions.

British renewable energy association RenewableUK is pleased with this decision. Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive of the association, said: "The Government is pressing ahead with action to meet our net zero emissions target quickly and at lowest cost to consumers and businesses. Backing cheap renewables is a clear example of the practical action to tackle climate change that the public is demanding, and this will speed up the transition to a net zero economy. As one of the UK’s cheapest power sources, new onshore wind projects will be a huge boost for jobs and investment in local economies across the UK."

Katrin Radtke
EnAppSys, RenewableUK, Agora Energiewende, UK, Germany, production, electricity, energy, February, record, coal phase out, net zero emissions, energy ransition

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