88 000 New Wind Turbines Wanted in Europe
The new European Wind Power Action Plan asks to increase wind energy capacity from 204 GW in 2022 to over 500 GW by 2030, aligning with the EU’s target of at least 42.5% renewables. The focus is not just on energy transformation but also on strengthening the wind industry’s health and competitiveness. The action plan addresses recent operational challenges in the wind sector and emphasizes the need for a robust, sustainable supply chain and equitable global competition.
by Paolo LICANDRO
Brussels, 20 November 2023 – 7 MINUTI DI LETTURA
The European Union’s commitment to decarbonization and the transition to clean energy has indeed elevated the importance of wind power. It is increasingly viewed not merely as an alternative energy source, but as a necessity for achieving a greener, more sustainable future. This shift aligns with global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. Wind power, with its renewable and low-carbon footprint, plays a crucial role in these strategies.
Background and Current Scenario
Wind energy in the EU has evolved from a niche renewable energy source to a cornerstone of the region’s energy mix. As of 2022, the EU boasted an installed wind capacity of 204 gigawatts (GW), a testament to the rapid growth and adoption of this technology. This expansion is critical for the EU’s ambitious target of achieving at least 42.5% renewables by 2030.
The European wind industry, despite its potential, has recently encountered significant operational hurdles. In 2022, all major wind turbine manufacturers in the EU reported substantial operating losses. This downturn reflects wider issues: supply chain disruptions, regulatory bottlenecks, and increasing raw material costs. Additionally, the rate of new wind project installations, at 16 GW in 2022, falls significantly short of the necessary 37 GW per year needed to meet the EU’s 2030 renewable energy goals. These challenges underscore the need for a robust plan to revitalize and sustain the wind energy sector.
The European Wind Power Action Plan: 500 GW by 2030
In response to these challenges, the EU has launched the European Wind Power Action Plan. This strategic initiative aims to accelerate the deployment of wind energy, targeting an increase in installed capacity from 204 GW in 2022 to over 500 GW by 2030. The plan focuses on several key areas: strengthening the wind energy supply chain, improving market conditions, and enhancing technology and innovation.
Central to the plan is the simplification of permitting processes, a critical bottleneck in the industry. The EU also seeks to ensure a stable and fair market environment, encouraging investment and competition. Furthermore, the plan emphasizes the importance of innovation in wind technology, promoting research and development to enhance efficiency and reduce costs.
Dreams or realistic goals?
To achieve the EU’s target of 500 GW of wind power capacity by 2030, an estimated total investment of approximately €355.2 billion is needed. This estimate is based on the additional capacity required from the current level and assumes an average cost of €1.2 billion per GW. It’s important to note that this is a rough estimate and actual costs may vary depending on various factors such as location, technology, and market conditions.
For this estimation, we assumed an average power of 3 MW per wind turbine (but there are also more recent and advanced models that can exceed 10 MW, especially in offshore installations). Moreover, we assumed a turbine capacity factor of 30% and a cost between €4 and €12 million per wind turbine. A 3 MW wind turbine, with a capacity factor of 30%, can serve approximately 300 domestic households with a constant consumption of 3 kW.