Wind energy is the renewable energy technology expected to provide the largest contribution to the EU renewable energy targets for 2020 and beyond.
By 2020, the total installed wind energy capacity could reach 210 GW, that equals a capacity to supply 14% of electricity demand, and by 2030 it could reach 350 GW, supplying up to 24% of the electricity demand.
Installed wind power capacity in the EU is currently around 140 GW. Approximately 127 GW of the capacity is onshore and just over 13 GW is offshore.
Challenges and opportunities
The cost of onshore wind power is already competitive with other sources of electricity in a number of countries.
Offshore wind represents a significant future opportunity: resources are stable, abundant and public acceptance is higher. Governments and investors are more carefully investing in offshore projects, where major cost reductions are needed to achieve competitiveness.
Europe is the global leader in offshore wind. This needs to be sustained where worldwide players such as the USA, China, Korea and Japan have increased their support to boost their offshore industry.
What the European Commission is doing
EU Research and Innovation support is mainly directed at reducing the costs and increase the performance and reliability of offshore wind.
Offshore wind in Europe is focused mainly on the North Sea which has relatively shallow water.
The Commission is also supporting the development of floating substructures or integrated floating wind energy systems for deeper waters and use in other climate conditions. This will increase deployment possibilities and improve the European position in the global market.