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90pc of New Power Capacity in Europe Came from Renewables in 2016

09 Feb 17:00 by Steve Walia

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New figures show that 90pc of new power capacity in Europe last year was from renewable sources, demonstrating how rapidly the continent is moving away from damaging fossil fuels to cleaner electricity fuel sources.

However, despite the good progress to date, industry leaders have said that they have concerns around future political support beyond the key date of 2020, when the targets were originally set for.

The EU has installed 24.5 GW of fresh capacity in the past year, with 86pc of this coming from solar, wind, hydro and biomass. This now beats the earlier goal of 79pc from just two years earlier.

Windfarms experienced a new high for the first time, representing over 50pc of installed capacity, according to data from WindEurope, the trade body for the industry in Europe. This pushed coal into third place, with wind in second and gas in first. However, because of wind power's intermittent nature, the majority of Europe's electricity overall still comes from fossil fuels.

Total capacity added dropped by 3pc in 2016 against the previous year. However, a jump in new offshore wind developments in Britain allowed the total investment figure for Europe to also hit a new record of £23 billion. This is due to the costs of installing offshore wind, which is twice as expensive as an onshore development.

The largest development of all was built in the Netherlands. Called the Gemini Windfarm, it was connected to the grid last winter and will become the second-biggest offshore development in the world when it is completed at the end of this year.

Europe now has a total wind capacity of 153.7 GW against a total capacity of 918 GW across the region overall.