Industry group WindEurope in an in-depth analysis of national energy and climate plans (NECPs) through to 2030 concluded most EU member states’ proposals still show shortfalls that could undermine investments and threaten the push for bloc-wide targets.

"The 2030 National Plans are the wind sector’s investment brochures. They allow banks and developers to plan future investments into wind," WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson said.

"But the wind volumes in the NECPs remain purely academic if the policies to unlock these investments are not in place. The EU needs to push member states to make the necessary improvements – especially in permitting."

WindEurope calculated the submitted NECPs, which all states had to submit to Brussels, would allow for 33% in the final energy mix by 2030, above the current EU target of 32%. Across the continent, member states plan to increase their wind installations, both onshore and offshore. If the NECP pledges are fulfilled, Europe will have installed 339 GW of wind capacity by 2030 – 268GW onshore and 71GW offshore – up from 169GW today.

"Most NECPs include a decent level of visibility to future auction schedules. Especially Germany, Denmark, France and the Netherlands offer good long-term visibility. But we need to install more wind to be on track with the Green Deal," Dickson said.

The main hurdle in the NECPs are the permitting regulations, WindEurope says. The vast majority of countries don’t mention what measures will be taken to ease permitting for new and repowered projects.

Traffic light system

Looking at auctions, electrification plans and permitting, WindEurope has assessed the individual NECPs using a traffic-light classification system, with green meaning the planned measures are "good", yellow standing for "measures are included with detail, but insufficiently clear or ambitious to help achieving 2030 targets", and red for "measures are absent of lacking in detail".

Looking at some key markets, the analysis, for example, shows a green light in Germany for its auction system and electrification plans, but gives the country a red light for permitting, which in the past two years has held back the expansion of wind energy.

"For Germany’s wind sector, the NECP does not offer new insights. While the auction schedule, with an increase in the offshore wind target for 2030 to 20GW is positive and the targets for electrification and hydrogen production are among the most ambitious in Europe, permitting remains a major bottleneck," according to Dickson.

"Germany is yet to explain how it wants to fix the current permitting crisis and avoid more undersubscribed tender rounds."

Neighbouring France also gets a green rating for electrification, but its auction system only is seen as yellow – or insufficiently clear or ambitious – just as permitting.

"France is planning to double its onshore wind capacity by 2030 and enter into offshore wind in the 2020s. They have put forward clear auction schedules for offshore and floating wind to reach between 5.2GW and 6.2GW of offshore wind by 2030," Dickson said.

"The French NECP is overall positive. Now the French government has to prove that it is willing to deliver on its promises. Transparent permitting procedures will be key."

Wind champion Denmark’s auctioning system is only labelled as yellow, but WindEurope deems the Nordic country’s electrification plan and permitting as green (good).

Poor performers

Other countries fare worse. Poland is given a yellow for its electrification plans, but WindEurope plants a red flag for its auctioning system and permitting.

Spain is seen red in its auctioning system, but yellow in electrification plans and green in permitting.

"Spain has high ambitions for wind development. By 2030 they want to have more than 50GW in onshore wind capacity installed. Renewables by then will make up more than 40% of total energy consumption," Dickson said.

"As one of few European countries, Spain has made significant improvements to permitting. But the NECP does not explain how and when this capacity will be auctioned. Investors interested in financing Spanish wind projects need more long-term visibility."

WindEurope as part of its assessment also gives an overview of each EU member state’s NECP in charts that analyse targets, wind capacity, support schemes, permitting and end of life, power grid and markets, electrification, PPAs, and research. (A link to the analysis can be found here.)