By Kari Williamson

By 2020, the EU wind industry could avoid 342 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent to 31% of the EU's target of reducing emissions by 20%. If emissions avoided by other renewable electricity technologies are included, almost half (48%) of the EU's target could be met.

The large contribution of wind power could, furthermore, enable the EU to move from a 20% to a 30% emissions reduction target, the report from EWEA argues.

The report also analyses the impact of wind energy on the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) emission reduction targets and the international greenhouse gas reduction pledges, and the data backs up an earlier report from the EEA showing that both the crisis and renewables have been the main drivers for emissions reductions in recent years.

The European Parliament is already discussing the 2050 low-carbon roadmap presented by the European Commission in February, and is actively considering including a demand to increase the legally binding renewable energy target after 2020.

"An ambitious 2020 climate target is key to maintaining Europe's leadership in the wind power industry in an environment of fast growing global competition from China, the US, South Korea and Japan," says Rémi Gruet, EWEA's Senior Advisor on Climate and Environment.

"It is clear that by deploying wind energy and other renewables the EU can move to a 30% greenhouse gas reduction target with ease.”