Wind energy in Europe

AuthorDirectorate-General for Environment (European Commission)
Guidance on Wind Energy Developments and EU Nature Legislation 13
Guidance on Wind Energy Developments and EU Nature Legislation
1.1 Introduction
The European Union (EU) has set ambitious targets to decarbonise the economies of Member States by taking
a range of actions, including the continued development of renewable ener gy sources (RES). The Renewable
Energy Directive 2009/28/EC12 establishes an overall po licy for the production and promotion of energy from
renewable sources. It requires the EU to achieve 20% of energy production from renewables b y 2020. With
the adoption of the Clean Energy for All Europeans pack age13 in 2018 and 2019, the European Union has
committed to achieving a share of at least 32% of gross EU final energy consumption from renewables by
2030, including provisions for a possible upward re vision. For 2020, EU Member States have com mitted to
specific national renewable energy targets, adopted in their national renewable energy action plans, and
supported by a number of related policies and legal instruments. Eurostat data indicate that the EU as a whole
is on track to achieve the 2020 target of 20% with a share of renewables var ying widely by individual Member
State, from over 30% in Finland, Sweden and Latvia, to under 5% in Malta, Luxemburg and the Netherlands14.
Although considerable progress has been made in developing renewable energy throughout Europe and land-
based renewable energy production is relatively well established, a growing num ber of marine-based ener gy
technologies are experiencing significant growth and are becoming the f ocus of new policy and legal
frameworks. To ensure their sustainable development in Europe, the EU adopted the Maritime Spatial Planning
Directive 2014/89/EU15 with the aim o f creating a common fr amework to reduce conflict between sectors, to
create synergies, encourage investment and cross-border cooperation, and preserve the environment. The
aims of the Directive are in line with the protection measures set out in the Marine Strategy Framework
Directive (MSFD) 2008/56/EC16 and the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC 17.
In 2018, the EU had an installed capacity to produce 160 GW onshore and 19 GW offshore wind energy. Th is
accounted for 14% of the EU’s electricity demand and continues to be the second largest form of power
generation capacity (Box 1-1).
Box 1-1: Total power generation capacity in the European Union 2008 -2018
Source: WindEurope, 201918

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