Sian Crampsie

Europe’s wind energy markets are on target to install just over 13 GW of capacity in 2018, according to industry group WindEurope.

In the first half of 2018, some 3.3 GW of onshore wind was delivered in the region as well as 1.1 GW of offshore capacity. Germany, France and Denmark led the onshore sector, while the UK, Belgium and Denmark led the offshore capacity additions, the organisation said.

For the whole of 2018, WindEurope expects to see 3.3 GW of new offshore wind completed and 10.2 GW of onshore wind capacity. The figures indicate a slight slow-down in the market over 2017, and indicate some “worrying” trends, according to WindEurope Chief Policy Officer Pierre Tardieu.

“We are on track for a solid year in new wind farm installations but the growth is driven by just a handful of markets,” commented Tardieu. “In offshore wind, Europe is too dependent on the UK, which is striding ahead in current installations and in committing to future volumes. By contrast, the rate of new installations has slowed down in Germany. Other countries also need to beef up and speed up their plans on offshore wind.”

In the onshore wind energy sector, France has failed to issue any new permits because of an administrative issue. This means that there will be a drop-off in new builds in wind energy and uncertainty in the supply chain, Tardieu said. There is also a lack of clarity in Germany’s regulations and timetables for new auctions.

“Like all Member States they now need to give five years’ visibility on future auction timetable and volumes – under the terms of the new Renewables Directive,” said Tardieu. “This visibility is key to the supply chain and to keep wind energy jobs and growth in Europe. Investments in manufacturing, skills and R&D only happen when governments give long-term visibility to the supply chain.”