Wind turbine

Wind energy is an attractive alternative to fossil fuels. It is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean and produces no greenhouse gas emissions. Onshore wind energy is a mature technology that is nevertheless undergoing continuous improvements. Currently, R&D is primarily focused on maximising the value of wind energy and on taking the technology offshore, where public opinion is more supportive of new wind farm installations. By the end of 2015 there are 142 GW of installed wind energy capacity in the EU: approximately 131 GW onshore and just over 11 GW offshore. The trend for offshore wind farms is to build them further away from shore and in deeper water. The wind power capacity installed in Europe produces 315 TWh of electricity in a normal wind year and covers 11,4% of the EU's electricity consumption. Wind farms can be connected to the smart grid and their intermittency controlled via geographical dispersion and ICT services such as demand side management and operation planning based on weather forecasts. Another technology that facilitates the further growth of wind energy use is large scale storage.