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Wind energy overtakes coal as the EUs second largest form of power capacity - 9th February

Offshore

Renewable energy sources made up nearly nine-tenths of new power added to Europe’s electricity grids last year, in a sign of the continent’s rapid shift away from fossil fuels.

however, industry leaders said they were worried about the lack of political support beyond 2020, when binding EU renewable energy targets end.

Of the 24.5GW of new capacity built across Europe in 2016, 21.1GW – or 86% – was from renewable sources which include wind, solar, biomass and hydro, eclipsing the previous high-water mark of 79% in 2014.

For the first time windfarms accounted for more than half of the capacity installed, the data from trade body WindEurope showed. Wind power overtook coal to become the EU’s second largest form of power capacity after gas, though due to the technology’s intermittent nature, coal still meets more of the bloc’s electricity demand.

Germany installed the most new wind capacity in 2016, while France, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland and Lithuania all set new records for windfarm installations.

The biggest project was the Gemini windfarm off the Netherlands’ coast, which was connected to the grid last February and will be the world’s second largest offshore windfarm when finished this year. Gemini was followed in size by two other offshore windfarms, Germany’s 582MW Gode Wind 1 and 2, and the Netherlands’ 144MW Westermeerwind project.

Despite Europe’s installed wind power capacity now standing at 153.7GW, it is still a relatively small fraction of the region’s 918.8GW of total power capacity. The industry is hoping much of its growth will come from filling the gap as governments force old coal power plants to close to meet climate change goals, asthe UK has committed to doing by 2025.

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