Hurrah! Windfarms Produce Whopping ONE PER CENT Of EU Energy
The colossal, hugely expensive windfarms that are spread across huge areas of Europe’s land and sea, which are projected to drive up household energy bills by more than 50 per cent in coming years, have achieved … almost nothing in terms of reducing EU carbon emissions.
We here on the Reg energy desk only noticed this particularly this week because of a chirpy press release that flitted past us just the other day, claiming that “wind energy provides 8 per cent of Europe’s electricity.”
Hey, we thought, that sounds almost like it’s getting somewhere! So we looked into it. The eight per cent figure comes from the latest Wind Status Report (pdf) from the EU Joint Research Centre, and sure enough, it’s claimed therein that all those massive wind farms produced no less than 238 terawatt-hours of the 2,942 TWh of ‘leccy used in the EU nations last year.
That’s eight per cent, right enough – and that’d be a noticeable bite out of EU carbon emissions, maybe even one worth tying an energy-prices ball and chain round the ankles of the European economies.
Except it isn’t, of course. Like most developed economies, the EU nations use the great bulk of their energy in non-electric forms: we burn fuels to run transport, to provide heating and cooking and hot water, to power most of our industry. And this accounts for most of our energy use and carbon emissions.
By the most recent figures available, in fact, the EU is using around 1,666 million-tonnes-of-oil-equivalent of energy from all sources every year: that’s 20,710 TWh. Wind electricity makes up just over one measly percentage point of that. Solar? About half that again, for a total renewable-‘leccy contribution of around 1.5 per cent and a roughly corresponding CO2 reduction.