Concern for EU wind sector despite strong installation performance

WindEurope has released its latest update on the health of the European wind energy sector and expressed concern at issues that may negatively impact on long term progress.

At first glance, the statistics are positive, with 6.1 GW of wind power added to the European grid in the first half of 2017. A total of 4.8 GW of onshore wind capacity was installed in the first half of 2017, although it was heavily concentrated in Germany (2.2 GW), UK (1.2 GW) and France (492 MW).
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The European wind representative body found that a total of 1.3 GW of offshore wind capacity à‚ was installed through 18 projects across four different countries – Germany, UK, Belgium and Finland.

In Q1 andà‚  Q2, €8.3bn was invested in new asset financing- €5.4bn in onshore and €2.9bn in offshore, the latter down from a record high of €14bn in the same period in 2016.

Climate Action Programme website reported that 53 per cent of total investments were made in Germany, whereas no off-shore investment was made in the UK and it is detail like that, which worries the sector’s chiefs.

Pierre Tardieu, WindEurope’s Chief Policy Officer said: “We are on track for a good year in wind capacity installations but growth is driven by a handful of markets. At least ten EU countries have yet to install a single MW so far this year. On onshore wind, the end of UK Renewable Obligation scheme will lead to even greater market concentration in Germany, Spain and France”.

With regards to the offshore developments he commented: “On offshore, the level of finance activity is a concern. Although this won’t translate into lower installations for another few years, the industry needs clarity on volumes for the post-2020 period to maintain the current cost reduction trend”.

The installed capacity that was added by country goes as follows: Austria 106.8MW (onshore), Belgium 105MW (onshore) 165MW (offshore), Croatia 20.7MW (onshore), Denmark 59.9MW (onshore), Finland 50MW (onshore), France 492.35MW (onshore), Germany 2280.MW (onshore) 641MW (offshore), Greece 46MW (onshore), Ireland 159MW (onshore), Italy 187MW (onshore), Netherlands 88MWà‚  (onshore), Poland 5.82MW (onshore), Sweden 23.1MW (onshore), Turkey 377.85MW (onshore), UKà‚  1151MW (onshore) 518MW (offshore).

Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine has zero additional wind capacity, while for Belarus, FYROM, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Russia and Serbia there are no available data.

Tardieu added: “Member States should come forward as soon as possible with their National Energy and Climate Plans to 2030. In combination with the three-year auctioning schedule proposed by the European Commission, the national plans will give sorely needed visibility to the wind energy supply chain”.

Meanwhile press spokesperson Andrew Canning told Power Engineering International there are a number of reasons why some member states appear to be lagging behind others.

“Some cases are simple, such as Denmark, which already has a great deal of offshore for example. Others, such as Poland, are lacking in political commitment to renewable energy and this is reflected in their installation figures. But it is also due to the cycle of investments ” if you look at the Netherlands, they installed no offshore in H1 this year but they are currently working on some major offshore projects which have yet come online.”

“It was a fairly good H1 but the figures reveal that there was a strong market concentration in Germany, UK, France, Belgium and Finland.”

So what can the EU do to improve the overall contribution outside of those markets?à‚ 

“Member States already have binding targets set by the 2020 climate & energy package to include a certain percentage of renewable energy in their energy mix by 2020 and a key way to do this is by investing in wind, although not the only way.”

“We really need to see countries committing to the volumes they’ll be deploying post-2020 in order to help keep up the pace of installations and to carry on the current cost-reduction trend.”

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