TODAY’S STUDY: NEW CALMER WINDS AHEAD FOR EUROPE
Wind energy scenarios for 2020
July 2014 (European Wind Energy Association)
EWEA’s previous wind energy scenarios were pub lished in 2009 (‘Pure Power 2’) following the adoption of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. They were subsequently re-published in 2011 (‘Pure Power 3’).
The scenarios looked at both annual and cumulative installations and included a country breakdown for 2020, but not for intermediate years. The headline figure was 230 GW (of which 40 GW offshore) producing 581 TWh of electricity, meeting 15.7% of electricity consumption. EU electricity consumption for 2020 was projected to be 3,689.5 TWh1.
Reasons for the new scenarios
In light of developments since 2009, not least the economic European markets, EWEA has reviewed its 2020 scenarios according to present and expected realities. The European Commission now2 expects final power demand in 2020 to be 11% lower than it did in 2009 (2,956 TWh gross final consumption in EU27, instead of 3,336 TWh). In reality, therefore, the Commission does not expect EU power demand to increase above its 2008 peak until after 2020. This economic reality has had a impact on demand for new power installations for all generation technologies.
The economic reality has also fed through to the stability of regulatory and market frameworks for wind energy, both onshore and offshore. This has impacted investment plans, new orders, investment decisions already taken, and existing installations in markets across Europe. Retroactive and retrospective changes to regulatory and market frameworks have had a particularly negative impact on the wind energy sector, especially in certain markets.
Proposed new scenarios
Given the expectations for energy demand, the persisting instability in numerous markets across Europe, the rapidly changing national policy frameworks for wind energy, the new round of climate and energy discussions at EU level on a policy framework to 2030, and the potential impact of the 2015 COP climate negotiations in Paris, it is apparent that a single growth scenario for wind energy is no longer sufficient.
Consequently, EWEA is proposing three growth scenarios to 2020. These are based on the premise that the instability experienced in wind energy markets to date is not fully compensated for by new installations in the latter half of the decade, particularly offshore. It does not necessarily follow that lower installations will undermine the EU’s 20% renewable energy target being met. As the 20% target is a consumption target, and with consumption in 2020 being lower than previously expected, meeting the target with fewer installed MW producing fewer TWh is feasible. EWEA’s new central scenario expects 192 GW of wind installations to produce 442 TWh meeting 14.9% of electricity consumption in 2020.4
The central scenario will result in cumulative installations over the seven year period of 75 GW and an investment volume in wind farms of between €90 billion and €124 billion, with the leading markets being Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Poland and Italy. By 2020, 354,000 people (up from 253,000 today) will be employed in the European wind industry.
• Low scenario 2020
Installed capacity increases by 41% compared to 2013 to 165.6 GW. Offshore installations are 19.5 GW. Onshore wind installations produce 307 TWh of electricity and offshore installations 71.9 TWh. The combined wind energy production of 378.9 TWh covers 12.8% of total EU power demand.
The effects of the economic crisis on power demand linger, pressure on public spending persists across Europe until the latter years of the decade. Instability in national regulatory frameworks in both mature and emerging markets continues. This instability makes it difficult to attract financing for new wind energy projects, especially in the offshore sector that struggles to de-risk. EU and international climate and energy policy post-2020 decisions are weak and unambitious, providing few extra stimuli for wind energy development.
• Central scenario 2020
Installed capacity increases by 64% compared to 2013 to 192.5 GW. Offshore installations reach almost 23.5 GW. Onshore wind installations produce 355.2 TWh of electricity and offshore installations 86.4 TWh. The combined wind energy production of 441.7 TWh covers 14.9% of total EU power demand. Regulatory stability is not fully recovered throughout Europe; however, in key onshore markets such as Germany, France, United Kingdom and Poland policy reforms are finalised rapidly and the new regulatory frameworks are conducive to a pick-up in wind power installations. EU post-2020 energy and climate negotiations provide some medium-term perspectives for the wind energy sector. Offshore installations are similar to those under the low scenario, but extra confidence in the UK and faster deployment in France and the Netherlands push the EU total to 23.5 GW.
• High scenario 2020
Installed capacity increases by 84.9% compared to 2013 to 217 GW. Offshore installations almost reach 28 GW. Onshore wind installations produce 397.8 TWh of electricity and offshore installations 102.2 TWh. The combined wind energy production of 500 TWh covers 17% of total EU power demand. Regulatory stability returns to most markets in Europe with annual installation growth rates returning to pre-2012 levels. Agreement on a strong EU climate and energy package, proposing domestic greenhouse gas reductions of 40% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels and a renewable energy target of 30% boosts installations in a number of key markets such as Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. As the effects of the economic crisis fade, markets that came to a virtual standstill in 2013, such as Spain, begin to show signs of growth. Offshore installations are similar to those of the central scenario, except in Belgium, Ireland and the UK where there is some extra growth. Germany’s offshore connection capacity of 7.7 GW is almost totally met.