- Published: 04 April 2016 04 April 2016
Records and Developments in the USA and Europe
In 2015 the US wind market saw good performance, with 8.6GW of added capacity, the strongest growth since 2012. Also Congress extended renewable energy usage tax credits by another five years. It looks like the US market is entering a new era and will flourish again, which is good news for all of us. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) will organise its annual show in New Orleans from 23 till 26 May. The set-up of the show differs a little from the past few years, with the exhibit hall and the educational sessions situated in one contiguous space. This set-up will help increase the interaction between the exhibitors and attendees of the show and hopefully the show will become a lively event again as it used to be before the global financial crisis. Of course Windtzech International will be present in New Orleans, so feel free to come along to pick up your personal copy of the magazine at the media point and/or to say hello.
That the US market is in better shape is also shown by a new analysis by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). NREL has released an analysis exploring the potential impact of the recently extended federal tax credits on the deployment of renewable generation technologies and related US electric sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It is estimated that the tax credit extensions will drive a net peak increase of 48–53GW in installed renewable generation capacity in the early 2020s. Longer-term impacts are less certain and may depend on natural gas prices. After the tax credits ramp down, greater renewable energy capacity is driven by a combination of assumed cost reductions in renewable generation, assumed rising fossil fuel prices and existing clean energy policies. The tax credit extension-driven acceleration in renewable energy capacity development may reduce fossil fuel-based generation and lead to lower electric sector CO2 emissions. Cumulative emissions reductions over a 15-year period (spanning 2016–2030) as a result of the tax credit extensions are estimated to range from 540 to 1,400 million tonnes CO2.
Wind installations in Europe also resulted in a new record in 2015. Wind energy added more new capacity than any other form of power in Europe in 2015. Across the 28 EU member states, wind accounted for 44% of all new power installations, connecting a total of 12.8GW to the grid – 9,766MW in onshore and 3,034MW offshore. The volume of new installations was 6.3% up on 2014. Total wind capacity in Europe now stands at 142GW and covers 11.4% of Europe’s electricity needs. Renewables accounted for 77% of new power plant installations in 2015: 22.3GW of a total 29GW. Investment in new onshore and offshore wind farms reached € 26.4 billion, a 40% increase on 2014, with both onshore and offshore attracting record levels of capital. Almost half the new wind installations in 2015 were in Germany. Poland was the second largest installer with 1.3GW new capacity followed by France with 1GW.