I recently the following graphic showing the change in electric generation capacity in Europe in 2005 and 2016. The article boasts how wind energy has become the 2nd largest installed capacity. This is true but it misleads the public into thinking that wind provides the 2nd largest supply of electric generation. Power capacity and power generation are commonly confused and do not represent the same thing. Power capacity represents the capacity of the system and generation represents the amount of energy produced by the system.
In order to better see the change in electric generation capacity i re-did the visual from above into the graphic below. We can see that wind and solar technologies have made the largest increase in capacity since 2005. Natural gas leads all fuels sources with 20% share followed closely by wind and coal at 17%.
In order to look at the consumption of Europe’s energy system we need to look at the transportation and heating sectors in addition to the electric generation sector. Using BP World Energy Outlook 2017 we can see how Europe’s energy consumption has changed in the past decade.
Energy consumption is measured in tons of oil equivalent when comparing oil with other fuel sources. We can see Europe is still heavily dependent in fossil fuels as liquids, natural gas and coal represent the top 3 fuel sources. Looking at the recent decade we can see a positive trend of decreased fossil fuel consumption replaced with renewable generation.