Industry statistics for the EU wind energy market show that cumulative wind power capacity increased by 6,183 MW or 18% to 40,504 MW at the end of 2005, up from 34,372 MW in 2004.

The growth, says EWEA, represents a wind turbine manufacturing turnover of some €6 billion and surpasses the 1997 European Commission White Paper target for 40 GW by 2010.

Cumulative wind power capacity in the EU has increased by an average 32% per year over the ten year period to 2005 reflecting growth of 22% in terms of annual installations. In 2005, the European market grew by 6%, achieved despite a combined reduction in installations of more than 500 MW between the European leaders in terms of wind capacity Germany and Spain.

Professor Arthouros Zervos, president of the EWEA said: “This underlines the technology’s ability to deliver fast and vast amounts of clean energy.” Zervos adds: “Although there are still many barriers to wind energy development in most EU countries, the figures demonstrate a healthy underlying trend in the market. The sector is gradually becoming less reliant on a few key markets in Europe. That trend is even stronger when we look at the global market for wind energy in 2005, with more countries significantly increasing investments in wind power technology, not least USA and India.”

The top five European wind energy markets in 2005 were Germany (1,808 MW), Spain (1,764 MW), Portugal (500 MW), Italy (452 MW) and the UK (446 MW). Germany and Spain each have more than 10 GW of cumulative installed capacity with 18,428 MW and 10,027 MW respectively. A further seven countries have more than 1 GW including, Denmark 3,122 MW; Italy 1,717 MW; UK 1,353 MW; Netherlands 1,219 MW and Portugal 1,022 MW. The 40,504 MW installed in the EU by the end of 2005 will, in an average wind year, produce some 83 TWh of electricity, equal to 2.8% of EU electricity consumption in 2004.

Meanwhile, European Transmission System Operators (TSOs) are to launch a study to investigate the impact of the integration of wind capacity on the wider European transmission network. The European Wind Integration Study (EWIS) project is to be conducted by ETSO and UCTE and a consortium of 16 TSOs from 14 countries. The study aims to address network issues associated with large scale wind farms and to make recommendations for a generic and harmonised European-wide approach towards wind energy issues.