Wind And Solar Power On In Europe

Wind energy and solar panel based solar power production accounted for nearly 60% of new electricity generation capacity in the European Union in 2009.

For the second year in a row, wind energy was the leading electricity generation technology in Europe in terms of new capacity installed. Solar power generated through the use of solar panels also had a healthy showing and between the two technologies, accounted for nearly 60% of new generation capacity.

Renewable Energy Snapshots 2010 from the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) shows the total renewable share of new power installations was 62% in 2009.

Solar panel based electricity generation increased its cumulative installed capacity by more than 50% to 16 GW in 2009 and for 2010 installations of up to 10 GW are expected; far exceeding expectations for the year. The European Photovoltaic Industry Association has set a target for up to 12% of European electricity to be generated via photovoltaics by 2020.

With more than 74 GW of cumulative installed capacity in 2009, wind power exceeded a target of 40 GW by more than 80%. The new target of the European Wind Association is 230 GW installed capacity in 2020, which would be enough to provide for 20% of European electricity demand.

Out of the 27.5 GW of new power capacity  constructed in the EU last year:

10.2 GW (38%) wind power
6.6 GW (24%) gas fired power stations
5.8 GW (21%) solar panels
2.4 GW (8.7%) coal fired power stations
580 MW (2.1%) biomass
570 MW (2.1%) oil
440 MW (1.6%) waste
440 MW (1.6%) nuclear
390 MW (1.4%) hydro
120 MW (0.4%) concentrated solar power

The EU’s Joint Research Centre is part of the Institute for Energy; which provides scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of community policies related to energy.


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