Monday, June 21, 2010

Comparing US and European Wind Penetration

Using the same methodology as in Thursday's post on European wind energy, I took some data from the American Wind Energy Association annual market report and computed the Wind/Fossil ratio for the US.  The above graph compares the two.  As you can see, Europe is very far ahead in deploying wind infrastructure, relative to the size of its fossil fuel usage.

Partly this is because Europe began large scale deployment of wind earlier:

(though the US is now installing wind capacity at comparable rates).

However, it's also the case that the US uses almost twice as much fossil fuel as the EU-15:

This is despite the fact that the EU-15 population is larger than the US (about 385m versus about 307m), and that Europe also has a slightly larger economic output ($14.8 trillion on a PPP basis in 2009, versus $14.25 trillion for the US, according to the IMF).

The US has a lot of catching up to do...


Lars-Eric Bjerke said...


The Swedish government today announced their fossil reduction program as follows:
2020- reduction of CO2 emissions by 40 % compared to 1990
2020- zero fossil use for heating
2030- zero fossil use for transportation
2050- zero net CO2 emissions
Time will show if they are successful.

Stuart Staniford said...


If it is to be done anywhere, I imagine it will be done first in Scandinavia...

Alexander Ac said...

I think that the question still remains how much of the wind industry growth is sustainable :-) And if yes, for how long?

MisterMoose said...

The Europeans use less gasoline and diesel fuel that the US because the population is more concentrated, travel distances are less, and they never developed the kind of car culture that Americans take for granted (I would guess that most of the folks who crave the open road have already emigrated to America). AMTRAK's Northeast Corridor is a pale imitation of what a real rail network should look like. The trains in Europe are wonderful, but it would require a major cultural attitude adjustment to give up highway travel in favor of train travel in the US.

I suspect that Europe will always be ahead of America in this regard.