In 2016, wind power surpassed coal for the first time ever and became the second-largest source of electrical power production in Europe. The power generated by new wind farms constituted 51 percent of all newly installed electrical power sources. Only gas installations remain more numerous in Europe. Investments into this sector in the EU also broke records last year – these investments totaled 27.5 billion euros.
Currently, a tenth (10.4 percent) of the union’s general electrical demands are met by the 153.7 GW of total power generated by wind farms. The total power generated by wind farms built last year alone equals 12.5 GW. Throughout 2016, wind farms in the EU generated almost 300 TWh of electricity.
According to data from Wind Energy, an organization that unites wind power companies in the EU, all 28 of the union’s countries last year increased the sum power of their wind farms by 12.5 GW. Calculations indicate that the total power of wind farms built onshore grew by 10.923 GW, while the total power of wind farms built offshore grew by 1.567 GW.
Germany can be considered the undisputed leader in wind energy. Just last year, the country increased the total power generated by its wind farms by 5.443 GW. Meanwhile, Lithuania saw record growth in total power of its wind farms last year as well. After building three new wind farms, its power grew by 178 MW and has now reached a total of 500 MW.
“2016 has become a symbolic year for wind power in Lithuania because we achieved the 500 MW minimum established by law. Throughout 2016, wind generated more than one terawatt-hour of electricity – a tenth of the electricity needed by the entire country,” said Lithuanian Wind Power Association (LWPA) Executive Director Aistis Radavičius.
According to him, wind farms are the least expensive new power installation that can currently be constructed. According to data from LWPA, the price of energy generated by the wind continues to fall: since 2008, its average price around the world has fallen by 35 percent, and the change in Lithuania has been even greater – 42 percent.
Investments into the wind power industry broke records last year at the EU level, reaching 27.5 billion euros. Onshore wind farms received 9.3 billion euros in investments, or 29 percent more than in 2015. Even greater growth was observed in offshore wind energy. Such projects received 18.2 billion euros in investments in 2016, or 39 percent more than the year before last.