October 2011 • Tribune 31 •
Wind power is the fastest growing of the European renewables. By the end of 2010, the European wind power installed capacity of 84,278 MW, produced 181 TWh of electricity, meeting 5,3% of overall EU electricity consumption (up from 4,8% in 2009 and 3,8% in 2007). In 2010, 9,883 MW of wind power were installed across Europe, with the EU accounting for 9,259 MW of the total, out of which 8,377 MW onshore and 883 offshore. 2010 was a record year for new power generation installations in the EU, but for the first time since 2007, wind power did not lead the newly installed production capacity, accounting for only 17% of new installations whereas natural gas represented 51%.The offshore wind industry is now also growing extremely quickly. All this has been made possible thanks to massive subsidies under different forms (green certificates, renewables obligation certificates, feed-in tariffs and soon) which have and will be adding heavy charges on the consumers’ electricity bills. The question is to know whether Europe can ensure secure (there has been much academic debate on the ability of wind to provide a reliable electricity supply) and affordable electrical energy supplies and implement, simultaneously and rapidly, a “green” policy at reasonable costs, without changing its approach?