Wind energy in Europe: Scenarios for 2030
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Contributed by Futurenergy

WindEurope has published a report that describes three possible scenarios for wind energy capacity installations in 2030. These are based on WindEurope’s analysis of the potential conditions determining wind energy deployment post-2020.

The report, Wind Energy in Europe: Scenarios for 2030, highlights the social and economic impacts of each scenario and recommends the policy and other measures required to deploy wind energy with a view to sustaining Europe’s technological leadership in the sector.

The deployment of wind energy in Europe is a remarkable industrial success for Europe. Between 2006 and 2016, 106 GW of capacity were installed, supporting 262,000 jobs. In the same period, the US installed 71 GW, China 156 GW and the rest of the world 80 GW. 31% of the global installed capacity is in Europe and 46% was manufactured by European companies.

Onshore wind energy is today the cheapest source of new power capacity in many places in Europe. Offshore, auction prices over the last year have exceeded the industry’s self-imposed cost reduction targets of €100/MWh with projects delivering bids significantly below that level.

So wind energy could become the leading element of the power system with sustained progress on system integration and the acceleration of electrification. Wind energy overtook coal in terms of installed capacity in 2016 and for the sixth consecutive year, it topped investments in new power capacity.

However, the development of wind energy in Europe is more uncertain in the decade after 2020 than it was in the 10 years after it took off from being a niche technology. In his July 2014 inaugural speech to the European Parliament, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker committed to making Europe the world’s number one in renewables.

However, Europe is dealing with increasingly intense competition from mature and emerging markets. This trend was highlighted in the run-up to the 2015 Paris Agreement when more than 70 countries mentioned wind energy in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) as a key mitigation measure against climate change.

In the next 12 to 15 months, EU Member States and the European Parliament are expected to adopt the Clean Energy for All Europeans legislative package which will in large part determine the future of renewables in the decade after 2020. With this report, WindEurope informs this process by providing updated potential deployment scenarios for wind energy to 2030. The report also highlights the role of wind in delivering the energy transition in Europe, in securing Europe’s leadership in renewables and its role in supporting Europe’s wider social and economic development.

The findings:

According to WindEurope’s Central Scenario, 323 GW of cumulative wind energy capacity would be installed in the EU by 2030, 253 GW onshore and 70 GW offshore. That would be more than double the capacity installed at the end of 2016 (160 GW). With this capacity, wind energy would produce 888 TWh of electricity, equivalent to 30% of the EU’s power demand. In this scenario, the wind energy industry would invest €239bn by 2030 and provide employment to 569,000 people. The increase in jobs assumes that the EU supply chain remains competitive thanks to a robust market - a doubling of onshore wind capacity and a fivefold increase in offshore wind capacity - and to sustained European leadership in Research and Innovation.

The Central Scenario assumes that the EU meets its 27% renewable energy target in 2030 through the adoption of the Clean Energy Package proposals presented by the European Commission in November 2016. It relies on the implementation of clear Governance for the Energy Union with detailed National Energy and Climate Plans delivering the EU binding targets and effective regional cooperation.

It also assumes significant progress in system integration, allowing a higher penetration of wind energy and other renewables as well as sufficient grid infrastructure to meet the EU’s 15% interconnection target. In the Central Scenario, clear policy commitments on electrification drive demand for renewable power. In addition, the Central Scenario assumes onshore wind cost reductions continue and that, as a result of governments providing a visible pipeline of projects between 2020 and 2030, the industry’s offshore wind cost reduction objectives to 2025 are met.

According to WindEurope’s High Scenario, which assumes favourable market and policy conditions, including the achievement of a 35% EU renewable energy target, 397 GW of wind energy capacity would be installed in the EU by 2030, 298.5 GW onshore and 99 GW offshore. This would be 23% more capacity than in the Central Scenario and two and a half times more capacity than that currently installed in the EU. Wind energy would produce 1,129 TWh of electricity, equivalent to 38% of the EU’s power demand. In this scenario, the wind energy industry would invest €351bn by 2030, up 19% compared to the Central Scenario. It would also create 147,000 more jobs, bringing the total to 716,000.

In the Low Scenario, there would be 256.4 GW of wind capacity in 2030, 207 GW onshore and 49 GW offshore, producing 21.6% of the EU’s power demand in 2030. This is 20% less capacity than in the Central Scenario. As a consequence, the wind energy sector would generate €147bn in investments, 39% lower than in the Central Scenario. The wind industry would represent 132,000 fewer jobs than in the Central Scenario, with a total of 437,000.

Policy recommendations:

  • The EU should raise its 2030 renewable energy target to at least 35% of final energy demand by 2030 with a clear breakdown per Member State.
  • Member States should adopt early National Energy and Climate Action Plans based on a binding template, providing clarity to investors on the post-2020 market volumes including repowering.
  • The post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive should mandate Member States to set a schedule for renewable energy support providing investors at least three years of visibility.
  • The post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive should set clear design rules for renewable energy support mechanisms, including technology specific tenders, to manage the energy transition.
  • Market design rules should maintain priority dispatch for existing wind power plants and ensure new wind plants are dispatched down last and properly compensated in that occurrence.
  • Member States should stop capacity payments to polluting power plants through the adoption of an Emissions Performance Standard of 550 g CO2/kWh.
  • EU rules on Guarantees of Origin should facilitate corporate renewable PPAs and drive renewables-based electrification.

Article courtesy of  Futurenergy. To read more about clean technology and renewable energy, visit their website. 

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Image courtesy of Moisés Menéndez (@moisesMnndz)