Strategic Energy Technologies Information System
SETIS Magazine, 
March 2013

Wind energy is Europe’s most developed and deployed renewable energy. By 2020, 34% of the EU’s power needs should be met by renewables, and 14-16% of that by wind power alone. Today wind power meets around 7% of the EU electricity demand, halfway to the 2020 target.

Wind energy technology has come a long way since its modern form was released onto the commercial market in the 1980s. Back then the average power rating of a single turbine was measured in kilowatts, while today it is around 2-3 megawatts.

But, more can be done to improve wind energy technology and research has shown that turbines with power ratings of 10-20 MW are possible. And it’s not just about increasing the power rating; today’s turbines can be made more efficient and more reliable through R&D. Furthermore, turbines adapted to different terrains and extreme climatic conditions could be developed, floating structures for offshore wind power could come to the fore and mass manufacturing processes for offshore structures and large-scale turbines could be put in place.

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With many green energy projects put under financial pressure by the debt crisis in Europe, EU Member States may have to look further afield for help in meeting their 2020 targets.