WindEurope concerned about investment despite positives

WindEurope has noted the impressive gains in wind energy installations in particular European member states, but has an overriding concern about the variations in investment across the EU.

Germany dominated in terms of the addition of new wind with 5.44 GW installed of the European total of 12.5 GW. 10.92 GW went to onshore with 1.57 GW going to offshore.
WindEurope wind installations 2016
It means a cumulative wind capacity of 153.7GW ” 16.7 per cent of total power capacity and overtaking coal as the second-largest power source after gas. The EU’s turbines met 10.4 per cent of demand last year.

Total wind power investments rose 5 per cent year-on-year to a record €27.5bn ” although that was driven by a sharp rise in offshore wind spending, while onshore investment saw its first drop for five years in 2016.

Germany surpassed the 50GW installed capacity mark by the end of the year while France also featured strongly in the 2016 statistics, as its resurgent onshore wind market added 1.56 GW, up by about half on 2015’s installations.

Ireland (384 MW), the Netherlands (887 MW) and Finland (570 MW) all enjoyed record years, while beyond the EU’s borders the star of the show was Turkey, which installed 1.39 GW to break the 6 GW cumulative capacity barrier.

French energy minister Segolene Royal announced a 3 GW tender for onshore wind on Monday and WindEurope Public Affairs spokesperson Oliver Joy was enthused about French ambitions for the sector, telling Power Engineering International, “This is a clear commitment from France on volumes ” one of Europe’s strongest markets for onshore wind as it stands.”

“As many countries in Eastern and Central Europe scale back onshore support, France is deploying at a steady rate ” more than 1 GW a year over the last three years. The volumes give investors more visibility in the future. We’ve seen the success of this in the Netherlands with its pipeline of offshore tenders delivering record prices last year.”

On the whole results were less positive across the rest of the member states with UK and Poland seeing sharp declines.

“Things should be looking good long-term for the wind industry in Europe. But they’re not,” industry group Chief Executive Giles Dickson, WindEurope said. “Government policy on energy across Europe is less clear and ambitious than it was a few years ago.”

“Only seven out of 28 EU member states have targets and policies in place for renewables beyond 2020.à‚  The transition from feed-in tariffs to auctions has been less smooth than we hoped.à‚  We still have dysfunctional electricity markets that are not fit for renewables.à‚  And we’re lacking long-term price signals to support investment.”

Dickson urged EU states to get on with drawing up their national plans to deliver the EU-wide goals set out by the European Commission. “The Clean Energy Package is the blueprint for this. The Council and the European Parliament need to start working seriously on the commission’s proposals.”

Oliver Joy pointed to the French approach as an example to follow.

“For Europe as a whole, the question is what will happen after 2020. France is one of the few countries in Europe to set a clear goal” renewables to meet 32 per cent of energy consumption by 2030 under the new energy transition law. Only six other countries have set out similar ambitions.

“Industry and investors need clarity on volumes and regulatory frameworks in the years ahead to be able to continue investing in Europe. Without this, financing and deployment of new projects is likely to stall after 2020.”


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