Compare the (nameplate [*]) figures below with the current average EU electricity consumption of 300 GW.
EWEA’s new Central Scenario expects 320 GW of wind energy capacity to be installed in the EU in 2030, 254 GW of onshore wind and 66 GW of offshore wind. That would be more than twice as much as the installed capacity in 2014 (129 GW) and an increase of two thirds from the expected capacity installed in 2020 (192 GW).
Wind energy will produce 778 TWh of electricity, equal to 24.4% of the EU’s electricity demand. The wind energy industry will provide over 334,000 direct and indirect jobs in the EU and wind energy installations in 2030 will be worth €474 bn. The 96,000 wind turbines installed on land and in the sea will avoid the emission of 436 million of tonnes (Mt) of CO2. EWEA’s Low Scenario only foresees 251 GW of wind energy installations, 22% lower than in the Central Scenario, equal to meet 19% of EU electricity demand in 2030. Such level of installations would mean 307,000 jobs in the wind energy sector, €367 bn worth of investments, 339 Mt of CO2 emissions avoided and 76,000 wind turbines installed and connected to the grid in 2030. The High Scenario expects 392 GW installed in 2030, 23% higher than in the Central Scenario, equal to meet 31% of EU electricity demand. 366,000 jobs will be generated, as well as €591 bn of investments, 554 Mt of CO2 emissions would be avoided and 114,000 wind turbines generating electricity in the EU would be installed.
[ewea.org] – Wind energy scenarios for 2030
[*] – “Nameplate power” is the power value the manufacturer associates with his product.
Wind: a 5 MW offshore wind turbine means that under optimal conditions the turbines can generate 5 MW. In reality the conditions are seldom optimal. In case of wind power the bridge between ideal and reality is formed by the concept of “capacity factor“. Currently for North Sea offshore wind, for 5-6 MW turbines, that capacity factor is ca 0.5. For very large 15-20 MW turbines that factor is expected to level off at 0.65 or 65%. In other words, a 5 MW turbine in the North Sea generates 0.5 x 5 MW = 2.5 MW on average (24/7/365).
Solar: standard solar panels of 100 cm x 160 cm can have nameplate 300 Watt. That means that if you put one in the Sahara, on a usually very bright day, tilted towards the sun, you can expect the panel to generate 300 Watt. In countries with mediocre solar conditions, like Holland, the reality is far less rosy. As a rule of thumb, if you want to know how many kWh’s this 300 Watt panel will produce over a year, multiply the peak-Watt value (300 Watt) with an experience factor of 0.85, to arrive at the kWh’s your 300 Watt panel will produce over a year: 300 x 0.85 = 255 kWh. And since a year has 365 x 24 = 8760 hours, the average power your proud “300 Watt panel” will generate 255,000 Wh/8760h = 29 Watt on average (24/7/365).