On Saturday, a record 24.6% of total electricity came from wind power sources in the 28 countries of the European Union. The majority of this wind electricity was generated onshore (88.7%) vs offshore (11.3%).
With Europe moving into the high wind production winter period, we expect a new season of records being broken. And with massive scale construction continuing for offshore wind farms, these records of 2017 will soon look quaint.
The amounts of electricity generated were enough to power 197 million European households or 68% of all industrial electricity needs. As of the end of 2016, there were 153.7 GW of installed wind power capacity in the EU: 141.1 GW onshore and 12.6 GW offshore. Europe has about 500 million total people, with a land mass very close to that of the USA.
Generally, weekend renewable percentages are higher versus weekday renewable percentages due to mostly lower weekend industrial energy consumption. The peak amount (not the percentage of demand) of wind electricity generated from wind farms in Europe occurred in February of 2017.
Based upon feedback from commenters, I thought it appropriate to note that these record wind numbers were seemingly the front end of deadly storms that strew damage across the central portion of the continent, and killed at least six people.
All across Europe individual countries were being powered by significant amounts of wind. Denmark – who casually breaks 100% on a regular basis these days – topped out the chart on at 109%. Germany’s 61% is amazing for such a large country of more than 82 million people. At least 10 of 28 countries of the EU got greater than 20% of their electricity from the wind on Saturday.
Ørsted Energy, formerly known as DONG Energy, is the world’s dominant power in offshore wind generation. They’ve recently been awarded a new contract to build the future world’s largest offshore wind farm in the UK: Hornsea Project Two. The facility is expected to be operating by 2022, and will have a peak capacity of 1,386MW. Construction has not yet begun. Hornsea Project One, which is scheduled for completion by 2020 and currently under construction by Ørsted, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm when it is completed (but only for two years until Hornsea Project Two is completed) at an impressive 1,200MW. Additionally, the world’s largest offshore wind farm currently operating – the London Array – was also built by Ørsted.
According to Wikipedia, almost all of the world’s largest offshore wind farms are located in Europe.
The USA recently launched its only, and largest, offshore wind farm in Rhode Island. The five-turbine installation went live this past summer with a 30MW total size. Many states along the US east coast are now pushing hard for offshore wind power. Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, and Virginia are among the groups quickly moving through the bureaucratic processes. ERCOT – the Texas power grid – believes that in 2019, they’ll get more electricity from wind than coal.
Recent research has suggested that the whole of the world could be powered by wind energy using a relatively small patch (less than 1% of the globe’s oceans) of the North Atlantic ocean. The oceans in this area are about one mile deep. Within the last month, the world’s first floating wind farm came online in Scotland. While this farm is placed in water only 300-400 feet, the manufacturers of the technology believe it would support wind turbines in up to ½ mile depths.