Europe's net growth in new power generation capacity has been entirely driven by new wind farms, with the closure of coal plants now exceeding the number of fossil fuel plants being built. In fact, four times as many polluting coal plants are now being decommissioned as new replacements are being built.
A similar trend is being seen in gas plants, with only slightly more plants being built than are being closed down. This contrasts heavily with the rapid growth of wind turbine developments, which are springing up all over Europe, with a 20pc increase in 2017 and new records being achieved in the UK, Germany and France.
Consequently, wind power now produces the second biggest amount of electricity in Europe after gas-fired plants. Wind power also now generates nearly 20pc of all installed electricity across the EU. A record addition of 15.6 GW of fresh capacity was brought online through offshore and onshore wind turbines in 2017, according to figures produced by Wind Europe.
The industry trade group said that last year also saw record levels of investment for future wind farm developments, with contracts for 11.5GW of new capacity being signed to the value of £19.8 billion. Giles Dickson, the CEO of Wind Europe, said that the new figures provided further evidence that wind power had become mainstream and was delivering a clear return.
However, the body has warned that future investment could grind to a halt if the government fails to be clear about its plans and priorities for renewable energy development and to support in the coming years. In the UK, developers brought 4.3GW of fresh wind capacity on board, but now developers and investors are unsure of the government's position on the technology, particularly where onshore wind is concerned.