EU Wind Power Action Plan Picture

88 000 New Wind Turbines Wanted in Europe

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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.



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.

Wind Power Installed capacity in the EU

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.


EU Wind Power Action Plan 2030


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.


Wind Power on the Global Stage: The EU’s Influence and Contribution to Climate Action”

Let’s see the current wind power capacity in GW for major countries in 2020. China was the largest producer of wind turbines, in 2022. The country has rapidly expanded its wind energy sector and is home to several of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers, including Goldwind, Envision Energy, and Ming Yang Smart Energy. This expansion aligns with China’s broader goals of increasing renewable energy capacity and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, European manufacturers such as Vestas (Denmark) and Siemens Gamesa (Spain/Germany) also play significant roles in the global wind turbine market.

Word wind power installed capacity

Based on the available data for 2022, certain EU countries emerge as leading candidates for wind energy collection due to their geographical and climatic advantages:

  1. Denmark: Denmark is a frontrunner in wind power usage in Europe, with wind energy contributing a significant 55% to its overall energy consumption. The country’s geographic position, surrounded by sea, makes it ideal for both onshore and offshore wind installations​​.
  2. Germany: Germany is one of Europe’s largest wind markets, known for its strong onshore wind performance and growing offshore installations. It’s expected to remain a dominant player in the wind energy sector​​​​.
  3. United Kingdom: The UK has the highest total new wind installations, predominantly in offshore wind. Its geographical location, with extensive coastal areas, makes it particularly suitable for offshore wind farms​​​​.
  4. Sweden and Finland: These countries are outperforming Germany in onshore wind installations. Sweden, in particular, installed the most new onshore wind capacity (2.1 GW) recently​​.
  5. Spain and Portugal: With advancements in floating wind technology, countries like Spain and Portugal, which have large coastal areas, are becoming increasingly significant in the wind energy sector. This technology allows for the exploitation of wind resources in deeper waters​​.
  6. Netherlands and Belgium: These countries have strong offshore and marine operation industries, which are vital for the development of new technologies in offshore wind energy​​.
  7. Ireland: Ireland also features high in the list, with wind power contributing to 34% of its energy consumption, benefiting from its coastal wind resources​​.

These countries, with their strong wind resources and technological advancements, are well-positioned to harness wind energy effectively, contributing significantly to the EU’s renewable energy targets.


The European Commission’s objective of achieving a total installed wind power capacity of 500 GW aims primarily to supplant the entirety of gas and coal consumption in Europe, utilized for both industrial production and domestic purposes. Subsequently, this initiative also targets the replacement of other fossil fuels currently employed in the transportation sector.

In 2023, natural gas and coal together contribute 350 GW to Europe’s energy production, while wind power accounts for 175 GW.

The investment required for this transition is substantial, given that the current cost per megawatt (MW) of wind power capacity is double that of energy produced using natural gas. Presently, natural gas and coal together account for 35% of Europe’s gross energy production.


In 1998, the energy produced from nuclear sources exceeded that produced from fossil fuels. This was subsequently overtaken by renewable energies in 2009, which then surpassed nuclear energy production in 2017.


2021 EU Energy Primary Production by source

N.B. The energy produced in the EU can differ from the energy consumed due to factors like the diverse energy mix, energy imports and exports, energy efficiency measures, the transition to renewables, energy storage, and grid infrastructure limitations. These factors create disparities between production and consumption within the region.


Who Produces Wind Turbines?

The wind turbine industry is dominated by a few key players, both in Europe and globally.

Biggest Producers of Wind Turbines in Europe:

  1. Vestas: Based in Denmark, Vestas is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wind turbines.
  2. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy: A Spanish-German enterprise, known for its significant global presence in wind turbine manufacturing.
  3. Nordex Group: A German company, Nordex is a prominent player in the wind energy sector.
  4. Enercon GmbH: Another German company, Enercon has made a strong impact in the wind energy market, particularly in Europe.

Biggest Producers of Wind Turbines Globally:

  1. Vestas: Often tops the list in global rankings.
  2. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy: Competes closely for top global positions.
  3. General Electric (GE) Renewable Energy: An American company with a significant global footprint.
  4. Goldwind: A Chinese company, one of the largest in the world in terms of installed capacity.
  5. Envision Energy: Another Chinese company, growing rapidly in the global market.

EU Dependency on Wind Turbine Imports:

  • Level of Dependency: The EU’s dependency on wind turbine imports varies. While European manufacturers like Vestas and Siemens Gamesa play a dominant role globally, the EU also imports components and technology from countries like China.
  • Market Dynamics: The wind turbine market is global, with components sourced from various countries. This international supply chain means that while the EU has strong domestic production, it is also part of a global market.
  • Chinese Manufacturers: Chinese companies like Goldwind and Envision Energy have been expanding their global presence, but their market share in Europe is limited compared to European manufacturers.
  • Technological Advances: The EU’s wind energy sector is robust, benefiting from technological advancements and research within Europe.

It’s important to note that the wind turbine market is dynamic, and the standings of companies can change with new developments and market shifts.



The Wind Power Action Plan presented by the Commission is in line with Europe’s ambitious energy transition program. The energy transition program has been accelerated both by alarming climate data and by the war in Ukraine, which has led to a gradual reduction in the supply of fossil raw materials from Russia.

Since there was an increase in both absolute and relative terms in the use of fossil fuels in 2022, to compensate the reduction of the electricity produced by nuclear power plants and by renewable sources (see here for reasons), the Commission estimates that to achieve the targets set for 2030, an accelerated plan is needed to increase the production of renewable energy. Wind power, although two time the cost from natural gas, proves to be advantageous and can be distributed across every parallel of the European continent.

Installing 88,000 new wind turbines in 6 years will certainly be a challenging endeavor. Not only because of the production capacity of the plants, but also because the bureaucratic procedures for obtaining installation licenses are very lengthy and expensive.

Not to mention the environmental and architectural issues that doubling the wind turbine park in Europe will cause.


© Copyright eEuropa Belgium 2020-2023
Source: © European Union, 1995-2023

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