More certainty needed to ensure wind industry growth

15 October 2019

Sian Crampsie

WindEurope has called for more action from governments to secure continued growth in Europe’s wind energy sector.

The association says in its latest assessment of the region’s wind energy sector that there is significant uncertainty over how much growth will be achieved in the industry over the next five years and that policy makers need to implement clear and ambitious regimes to ensure investment.

According to WindEurope’s ‘Wind Energy Outlook to 2023’ report, National Climate & Energy Plans (NECPs) across Europe lack ambition and detail. In addition, permitting arrangements need improvement and continued investment in grid infrastructure is required to enable growth in wind energy.

If these issues are overcome, Europe’s wind energy capacity would grow by 88 GW to 277 GW by 2023, WindEurope predicts.

However, if the NECPs are unambitious and permitting issues persist, then Europe will install much less new wind power: only 67 GW, it adds.

Annual volumes of new wind capacity could range from 13 GW to 23 GW in Europe. This uncertainty will weigh heavily on supply chains, and could also impact the cost reductions made by the wind sector in recent years, WindEurope adds.

“Wind energy should be growing rapidly when you consider all the interest in climate change plus the fact the wind is the cheapest from of new power energy production,” said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson. “But there is real uncertainty about how far it’s going to expand in the next five years.

“It’s getting harder to secure permits for new wind farms in many countries. The grids and energy markets are still not functioning as they should. And many Governments simply haven’t decided yet how much new wind they want and when and how they’re going to build it.”

In its report, WindEurope forecasts that over three-quarters of new installations will be onshore wind. Spain, Sweden and Norway are leading growth in onshore wind, while Germany – normally another strong market – is suffering because of problems in its permitting process.

In the offshore sector, the UK will account for 35 per cent of growth over the next five years, followed by the Netherlands and Germany.

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