Europe ‘could get 10 times’ its electricity needs from onshore wind, study says

(CarbonBrief, 10 Jul 2019) An increased rollout of onshore wind turbines across Europe could technically provide the continent with more than 10 times its existing electricity needs, according to a new paper.

To make their estimate, a team of German researchers took into account changing wind speeds, all the available land and, crucially, futuristic turbine designs that are already coming onto the market.

While they note that generating 100% of Europe’s power from wind would not actually be feasible due to social, economic and political constraints, the scientists say their estimate gives a “significantly higher” figure than most previous assessments of wind potential.

Their paper, published in the journal Energy, also suggests that, as technology advances, the cost of the resulting electricity will be cheaper than previous studies have estimated.

Some nations, including the UK, have struggled with political opposition to onshore wind. However, with the EU facing ambitious climate targets in the coming years, wind is expected to be the biggest contributor to the region’s power supply within less than a decade.

Renewable goals

As it stands, the EU is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990, amid mounting pressure on member states to agree to a net-zero target.

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CarbonBrief, 10 Jul 2019: Europe ‘could get 10 times’ its electricity needs from onshore wind, study says