Wind "could supply 10%" of EU power by 2020

European wind industry raises its sights following rapid growth, substantial drop in costs

Wind power could and should supply one-tenth of EU electricity by 2020, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said on Monday as it launched a new assessment of the industry's prospects. A target set in 1991 of achieving 4,000 MW of installed capacity by 2000 and 100,000 MW by 2030 (equivalent to 10% of the EU's electricity requirement) had been overtaken by events, it said. Installed wind energy capacity in Europe has grown by 40% annually since 1991, to reach 4,500 MW in 1997. As a result of this success, EWEA is now looking to achieve a capacity of 8,000 MW by 2000 and the 100,000 MW target ten years earlier than before. Welcoming the report, EWEA chief Christophe Bourillon claimed that wind power had now entered "the major league of energy" and said that it could "rival coal, oil and gas". Wind turbine prices fell by a factor of at least three from 1981 to 1991, and "the latest megawatt machines are competitive" with other electricity generation methods," the report concludes. It also points towards growing economic and employment benefits of increasing wind turbine manufacturing and stresses wind power's environmental contribution. Wind energy could reduce EU power sector carbon dioxide emissions by over 11% by 2040, it asserts.

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