The EU wind energy sector installed 11.6GW of capacity in 2012, bringing the total wind power capacity to 105.6GW, according to the 2012 annual statistics launched by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
The 11.6GW installed in 2012 is higher than the 9.4GW installed in 2011.
"The 2012 figures reflect orders made before the wave of political uncertainty that has swept across Europe since 2011, which is having a hugely negative impact on the wind energy sector," commented Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA. "We expect this instability to be far more apparent in 2013 and 2014 installation levels."
Wind energy represented 26% of all new EU power capacity installed last year, and investments of between €12.8bn and €17.2bn. It is now meeting 7% of Europe's electricity demand - up from 6.3% at end 2011.
Overall, the EU is almost 2GW (1.7%) under its National Renewable Energy Action Plan forecasts. Eighteen member states are falling behind, including Slovakia, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, France and Portugal.
Renewable energy represented 69% of all new power capacity in 2012, while, in a continuing trend, fuel oil, coal and nuclear capacity saw negative growth owing to decommissioning.
Last year, wind energy installations were led by Germany (2.4GW, 21% of all new wind power capacity), the UK (1.9GW, 16%), Italy (1.3GW, 11%), Romania (0.9GW, 8%) and Poland (0.9GW, 8%). In terms of total installed capacity, Germany is also the leader with 31.3 GW (30%), followed by Spain (22.8 GW, 22%), the UK (8.4 GW, 8%), Italy (8.1 GW, 8%) and France (7.2 GW, 7%).
The spread of wind energy across Europe is demonstrated by the fact that Denmark, Germany and Spain represented 33% of annual wind power installations in the EU in 2012, down from 85% in 2000.