The push for greater renewable energy production stems largely from the increasing need to respond to the environmental threats facing our planet, and the European Union has kept a close eye on the progress made in each country as a result. Under European Union legislation, such as the European Union Directive for promoting renewable energy use in electricity generation, the European Commission monitors the progress of member states and proposes targets for countries that lag behind.
Eager to discover which European countries have made the greatest progress in increasing their wind turbine energy production, energy switching site SaveOnEnergy collated and compared official EU data on the percentage of electricity produced that is generated by wind power in both 2000 and 2018 (the most recent dataset, released in 2021).
Comparing early wind power energy production with 2018 figures, we calculated a percentage increase in wind turbine use for each country and ranked these to discover which countries have been most successful in their pursuit for greater wind energy generation.
Foremost, we compared the percentage of electricity produced by wind power in 2000 with the equivalent figures from 2018, to find out which countries experienced the highest percentage increase in wind power usage during this period.
Of all the European countries studied, Poland was revealed to have experienced the biggest increase in wind turbine energy production between 2000 and 2018, with a percentage increase of 249,900%. This finding is particularly interesting due to the fact Poland produced the fourteenth highest percentage of electricity by wind power overall in 2018. Therefore, the dramatic increase is largely down to Poland’s previously very poor record, with just 0.003% of electricity produced being generated by wind power in 2000, compared to 7.5% in 2018.
Czechia was found to be the European country with the second highest percentage increase in electricity production generated by wind power, at a hike of 69,900%. Despite Czechia boasting the second lowest proportion of electricity generated by wind power in 2018, the country previously produced the lowest percentage overall in 2000 (0.001%), so it has still seen a significant increase in wind turbine energy production over the years.
France has the third largest increase in wind turbine energy production throughout the period studied, with electricity production generated by wind power increasing from 0.009% in 2000, to 4.9% in 2018 - an increase of 54,344% overall.
Neighbouring country Belgium experienced the fourth highest increase in wind energy production, with almost 10% of electricity produced being generated by wind power in 2018, compared to 0.02% in 2000 - a percentage increase of 49,400%.
Although Ukraine boasted the lowest percentage of electricity produced by wind turbines in 2018 (0.7%), the country had the fifth largest percentage increase since 2000, since only 0.003% of electricity production was generated by wind turbines.
By comparison, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain each ranked as having the lowest percentage increases when it came to the percentage of electricity production generated by wind turbines between 2000 and 2018. The European countries had increases of 287%, 452% and 780%, respectively. Despite being impressive, they lag considerably behind other European nations.
Did you know? By 2030, wind energy will offset 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 per year – equivalent to 79.2 tonnes of CO2 every second.
Owing to a strong start in their approach to wind power production in 2000, some European countries experienced a low increase in wind turbine energy production over the years. However, some of these countries produced the highest percentage of their electricity through wind power in 2018 alone.
Despite having experienced the smallest increase in wind turbine energy production between 2000 and 2018 (with an increase of 287%), Denmark generated the highest proportion of their electricity production from wind power of any of the European countries studied in both 2000 and 2018. An impressive 45.7% of electricity produced in Denmark was revealed to be generated by wind power in 2018, and 11.8% in 2000.
Our research found that Ireland produced 27.7% of electricity by wind power in 2018, making it the European country producing the second most wind turbine energy in the most recent records. This compares to an earlier 1% of electricity produced being generated by wind power in 2000, and therefore a percentage increase of 2,670% in this period.
Portugal and Spain generated the next highest proportions of their electricity from wind power, respectively. As of 2018 records, 21.1% of the electricity produced was generated by wind power in Portugal, meanwhile, Spain produced 18.5% of electricity by wind power.
In joint fifth was the United Kingdom and Germany, with 17.1% of electricity produced in these countries being generated by wind power in 2018, when the most recent data was shared. Despite being on equal footing now, Germany previously produced more electricity through wind power than the United Kingdom, with the UK experiencing an 8,450% increase between 2000 and 2018, and Germany experiencing a far smaller increase of 968% in the same period.
By comparison, Ukraine and Czechia both ranked as producing the lowest percentage of their electricity from wind power in 2018, with 0.7% produced in this way in both countries. They were followed shortly by Latvia, where just 1.8% of electricity produced is generated by wind power as of 2018.
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Then, they compared the data set from 2000 to the data set for 2018, looking at the proportions of electricity production from wind turbines. These two data sets were chosen for comparison as in 2001 the EU put into place the EC Directive 2001/77/EC, which was the promotion of electricity produced by renewable energy sources.
The most recent data available, released in April 2021, is the 2018 data set. This was used to rank the findings.
This allowed SaveOnEnergy.com/uk to determine which country had the largest percentage increase in electricity from wind turbines as a proportion of total electricity production over the 18-year period. The unit for this data is gigawatts per hour.
Please note that the European Union collected this data before the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU. As such, the UK was still included in the study. *The following countries were excluded from the main study due to incomplete data sets: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Kosovo, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.