Investments in new wind farms in Europe fell 19 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to a new report released by WindEurope.
Last year, investments in new wind farms amounted to €22.3 billion ($27.6 billion), down from €27.6 billion in 2016, the trade body said in its yearly financing and investment trends report published on Monday.
“However, investment volumes are expected to stabilize in 2018 with the roll-out of auctions across Europe and projects awarded support expecting to reach final investment decisions,” WindEurope said, adding wind energy projects currently awaiting final investment decisions (FID) were estimated at over €23 billion ($28.5 billion).
Noting that wind energy was “the largest investment opportunity in the power sector in Europe", the report said that last year a total of €51.2 billion was raised for the construction of new wind farms, refinancing operations, project and company acquisitions as well as public market fundraising.
Project acquisitions more than doubled in value in 2017 to €9 billion, from €4.3 billion in 2016, according to the report.
Company acquisitions also more than doubled in value as a result of industry consolidation, from €2.5 billion in 2016 to €5.3 billion in 2017.
Banks extended €15.5 billion in non-recourse debt for the construction of new wind farms and the refinancing of existing ones.
Green bonds raised €17.5 billion in 2017, representing the highest level of issuance in the last five years.
-€3 billion invested in new projects in Q1 2018
Over 14 gigawatts (GW) of capacity was awarded financial support through 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, according to the report.
During the first quarter of 2018, Europe invested €3 billion ($3.72 billion) in new wind energy projects, along with 30 new onshore wind projects that reached FIDs, for a combined capacity of 1.9 GW.
Between 2018 and 2020, more than 17 GW of additional onshore and offshore capacity is set in the auctioning plans of four countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands and Turkey, the report said, adding most of this capacity is expected for auction in 2018.
"Non-EU countries like Russia, Ukraine and Turkey are having a more prominent role in wind energy financing, with 0.6 GW of new announced FIDs and over €1 billion ($1.24 billion) in investments," it said.
By Hale Turkes