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Wind Energy in The European Union

2020 wind energy numbers

The European Union will have at least 32% of its energy demand (heat and power) from renewable sources by 2030, meeting an estimated 50% of the power demand. Notably, in 2020, renewable energy production surpassed for the first time that of fossil fuel sources. In November, the European Commission has published the Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, which highlights the role that every offshore technology will have in supporting the key ambition of the European Green Deal – carbon neutrality by 2050. Thus, considering the European Green Deal long-term vision of climate neutrality through a new growth strategy, the EU is currently in the process of reviewing these targets, aiming at a 55% GHG reduction target by 2030. Together, these goals, new and ongoing alike, represent a powerful driving force for renewables, particularly wind energy.

In 2020, the European Union installed 10.8 GW of wind capacity, a 1% decline from 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, number of new installations was higher than in 2018 when only 8.5 GW were installed due to the shift from feed-in tariffs to auctions and delays in permitting. Permitting remains the main bottleneck for the industry across the EU, which results in undersubscribed auctions for onshore wind energy and consequently with low installations.

Even though 2020 brought a lot of uncertainty to fossil fuel prices, wind power proved to be resilient and provided reliable power throughout the pandemic. By the end of 2020, 179 GW of wind power was connected to the grid, which represented 15% of the EU’s electricity demand.

To read more about the European Commission's wind energy sector, please visit their chapter in the IEA Wind TCP 2020 Annual Report.



Total wind power capacity is 179.000 MW.


Wind power capacity in the EU increased by 10,800 MW in 2020.


EU produces 382 TWh from wind energy, which accounts for 15,2% of EU's electricity consumption.

National Targets

The current 2030 targets for the EU to generate 32% of its energy from renewable sources is likely to be increased. The new target comes because of the new EU Climate Law where the greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030 was increased from 40% to 55%, to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

In November 2019, the EC presented the Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, which foresees 300 GW of offshore wind in the EU by 2050.

Progress & Operational Details

In 2020, 10.8 GW of wind power capacity was installed across the European Union, a 1% decrease on 2019, due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions and restrictions to the movement of people and goods. Most of the disruptions were observed in onshore wind, while offshore installations were in line with the projections before the pandemic. Although the number of installations was higher than the 8.5 GW installations in 2018, installations did not increase significantly in the past decade – in 2012, the EU installed 10 GW.

The low installation figures are a result of the slow and complex permitting procedures across different European countries, which can be seen in undersubscribed auctions across different markets. Most of the new installations came onshore 77% (8.3 GW) of the total new wind installations, however, onshore installations were lower than the installations in 2007 (8.4 GW).

National RDD Priorities and Budget

Research funding in Europe’s biggest Research and Innovation program, Horizon 2020 (H2020), showed continued support to wind energy in its last year. Although the number of wind energy projects decreased from 36 to 13 in 2020, cumulated investment granted to European wind energy projects grew at about 3% (57.0 million EUR (69.7 million USD)) as compared to 2019.

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