Europe need to more than double its annual wind power installations from the 15.4GW added in 2019 to meet the ambitions of the EU’s Green Deal, warned the continent’s lobbying group for the sector.
The 2019 installation level – 11.8GW onshore, 3.6GW offshore – was a 27% uplift on 2018’s figure but 10% down on the record achieved in 2017, said WindEurope in its annual release of statistics.
Last year’s pacesetters were the UK with 2.4GW, mostly thanks to its offshore sector, and a resurgent Spain, which contributed 2.3GW as its onshore industry roared back.
Germany was next with 2.2GW. But WindEurope said the long-time European wind powerhouse is “at a standstill”, with investments hitting an all-time low of €300m, covering just 180MW of onshore wind.
Sweden and France with 1.6GW and 1.3GW of onshore wind respectively were next in the installation rankings.
Europe saw €19bn ($20.6bn) of new investment in wind projects, 24% down on 2018’s level, said WindEurope, which noted that onshore wind investments “remained solid” and falling costs mean it’s possible for investors to get more capacity for less.
European governments awarded 15GW of capacity via various auctions and tenders, it added.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson warned that even though wind accounted for 15% of Europe’s electricity last year from a total base that now stands at 200GW, the build rate is well behind the EU’s ambition for a 50% share by 2050.
Dickson said: “Climate neutrality and the Green Deal require Europe to install over twice as much new wind energy each year as it managed in 2019. And the growth needs to come from both offshore and onshore wind.
“That requires a new approach to planning and permitting and continued investment in power grids.”
Dickson added: “The National Energy and Climate Plans for 2030 are crucial here. The EU needs to ensure they’re ambitious and rigorously implemented.”