Wind energy outpaced all other forms of new electricity-generating capacity built in the European Union in 2008, the European Wind Energy Association said in a report releasedA total of 23,851 megawatts (MW) of new power capacity was constructed

in the EU last year. Of this, 8,484 MW (36 percent) was wind power,

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6,932 MW (29 percent) was gas, 4,200 MW (18 percent) was solar, 2,495

MW (10 percent) was oil, 762 MW (3 percent) was coal, 473 MW (2

percent) was hydro and 60 MW (0.3 percent) was nuclear power.

The EWEA reports that an average of 20 wind turbines were

installed in the EU every working day during 2008. A total of 64,935 MW

of installed wind energy capacity was operating in the EU by the end of

2008, 15 percent higher than in 2007. The EWEA says wind power employed

160,000 people directly and indirectly in Europe in 2008.

Germany (23,903 MW) and Spain (16,740 MW) lead other EU

members by far in terms of installed capacity. Eight other countries in

Western Europe have more than 1,000 MW. New members of the EU also

added capacity in 2008. Hungary doubled its capacity to 127 MW and

Bulgaria tripled its capacity from 57 MW to 158 MW. Poland, one of the

fastest growing younger markets, now has 472 MW, up from 276 MW.

Outside the EU, Turkey tripled its wind energy capacity from 147 MW to

433 MW.

Adding to those figures in 2009 is a project recently completed by Germany-based REpower Systems.

The project is the first wind farm consisting exclusively of the

company’s 6-MW turbines, which are designed for offshore operations.

Three turbines, among the world’s largest, have been installed at the

Westre civic wind farm near the Germany-Denmark border. The turbines

will be tested for offshore operation. REpower Systems has a contract

with German energy supplier RWE Innogy to deliver up to 250 of the

large turbines for an offshore wind farm in the North Sea.

Wind equipment manufacturing capacity is also on the rise in Europe. Danish wind turbine blade specialist LM Glasfiber

officially opened its new blade factory in GoleniÛw, Poland, in early

March. The factory will supply blades for onshore and offshore wind

farms in the northern, central and eastern parts of Europe.

The facility is the 14th LM Glasfiber factory worldwide and

the fourth in Northern Europe. It will employ about 380 in its initial

phase.

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