RES continue to define the European electricity generation industry

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How has an increase in RES generation capacity in Europe more than compensated for the decommissioning of fossil fuel plants, resulting in an overall generation capacity increase in 2017?

Co-authored by Madeleine Alliez, Lamya Lasfar, and Colette Talbot

Twice a month, Capgemini publishes insights about energy industry trends and topics from all over the world. From climate change initiatives and industry breakthroughs to the financial challenges of some of the major energy players, the opportunities for digital transformation abound.

For today’s post, we examine the constantly evolving the European electricity generation industry.

In Europe, an increase in generation capacity has been led by the commissioning of renewable generating capacities (+21.1 GW)

  • Overall EU generation capacity increased by 24.5 GW in 2016, representing 1.2% of total installed capacity (see figure).
  • Renewable power generation increases were led by renewable energy sources (RES) wind and solar PV with, respectively, +12.5 GW and +6.7 GW in installed capacity.
  • The increase in installed wind capacity was chiefly supported by Germany (+5.4 GW), but France (+1.6 GW), the Netherlands (+887 MW), and the UK (+736 MW) also contributed. Further significant projects have been commissioned during the 2016 and H1 2017 period:
    • In Germany, the offshore Gode Wind 1 & 2 (582 MW) and Sandbank (576 MW) wind farms
    • In the Netherlands, the offshore Gemini (600 MW) and Westermeer (144 MW) wind farms
    • In the UK, extension of the offshore Burbo Bank wind farm (258 MW)
    • In France, the onshore Eolien Catalan wind farm (96 MW).

The growing share of RES installation more than compensated for the decommissioning of fossil fuel plants

  • Decommissioning of fossil fuel capacities continued (-12 GW).
  • As for nuclear energy, EU countries policies continued to favor a steady decrease in installed capacity (-1.8 GW).


Environmental issues and technological breakthroughs are expected to fuel the increase of renewable energy sources in the EU’s energy mix in 2018  

  • European politics now face the responsibility of adapting the existing, centralized electrical infrastructure to suit the new energy generation landscape.
  • With smart grid projects on the national scale being well on their way and microgrids emerging all over Europe,
  • It is a certainty that 2018 will be a year during which RES installations commissioning will have an impact on European energy infrastructure and regulations.

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