EU risks losing its leading position on wind to China

Without a clear policy vision for renewables towards 2030, the EU risks losing its leadership in wind energy to China, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
EU risks losing its leading position on wind to China

Figures released today by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) show that China overtook the EU for total installed wind energy capacity during 2015, installing almost 3 times as much wind thereby reaching 145 GW as opposed to the EU’s 142 GW.

“China overtaking the EU in wind energy is a watershed moment” said Giles Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “It sends a powerful message to policymakers: if Europe really wants to be number one in renewables it needs to get its act together.  We need a clear EU vision for renewables beyond 2020.  And great ambition and clarity from individual Member States.”

Mr Dickson added that Chinese ambition on wind now far exceeds Europe’s while other emerging economies have also made big long-term commitments. Currently, only 6 out of 28 EU Member States have clear commitments and policies for renewables beyond 2020. This has major industrial policy implications.

Europe’s wind industry currently has a 40 percent share of the global wind market, and the best technology. However, in order to remain cost-competitive, Europe needs a strong domestic market, otherwise it will be China and others that capture the rapidly growing global market – eventually outperforming Europe. This in turn would hurt Europe economically, given that the wind industry supports over a quarter of a million jobs in Europe.

In October 2014, the European Council set a target for the EU to meet at least 27 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030. Last year, the Commission launched a consultation on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive which will define how Europe will meet its collectively binding 2030 target.

The Commission is expected to adopt a proposal at the end of 2016.

For additional information:

European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)

Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)

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