There is significant uncertainty over how much wind energy capacity will grow in Europe over the next five years, according to WindEurope’s new Wind Energy Outlook to 2023 released on Tuesday.
The report details three scenarios that effect wind power production capacity in European countries, but under all the scenarios listed, the annual volumes of new wind capacity up to 2023 could range between 13 and 22 gigawatts (GW).
The first scenario in the report shows that if governments produce clear and ambitious National Energy & Climate Plans (NECPs), improve permitting arrangements for wind farms, and continue to invest in new grid capacity, then Europe’s wind energy capacity could grow by 88 GW to 277 GW by 2023.
Alternatively, in the second scenario, if the NECPs are unambitious and permitting issues persist, then Europe would install much less new wind power, estimated at only 67 GW.
Conversely, the third scenario in the report shows that if permitting improves significantly and the NECPs are extremely ambitious, then Europe could install 112 GW over the next five years.
The report said that under all scenarios over three-quarters of the new installations will be onshore wind.
"Spain, Sweden and Norway are currently leading the growth in onshore wind. Germany is installing much less this year than it traditionally has, and its outlook remains uncertain for the rest of the period, not least given recent policy decisions. We expect France to show continued steady growth in onshore wind," the report read.
-"It’s getting harder to secure permits for new wind farms"
Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO, said in the report that energy markets are not functioning as they should as many governments have not yet decided how much new wind they want and when and how they are going to build it.
"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. 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," he said.
He also recommended that the European Green Deal, the ambitious and pragmatic plan for Europe to transition to zero greenhouse gas emissions, include a clear industrial policy for Europe’s low-carbon industries. This policy would ensure that trade with the rest of the world and continued innovation stays competitive and that jobs are protected.
"Jobs are at stake here. The wind industry employs over 300,000 people in Europe but has lost 35,000 jobs in Germany alone over the last four years in large part because of public policy issues," he said.
WindEurope, based in Brussels, produces a large variety of information tools for wind power in Europe and worldwide by coordinating international policy, research and analysis. The association aims to formulate policy positions for the wind industry on key strategic sectoral issues, cooperating with industry and research institutions on a number of market development and technology research projects.
By Busranur Begcecanli