September 12 (Renewables Now) - Europe's wind energy capacity will grow at a solid rate over the next five years, expanding by an average of 17 GW a year and reaching 258 GW by 2022, according to WindEurope.
Growth will be fuelled by wind turbines' ever increasing capacities, with turbines of more than 4 MW currently becoming the norm in the onshore sector and of more than 8 MW in the offshore field, the industry group said today as it released its Wind energy outlook in Europe report. Of the expected new installations over the five-year period, 70.4 GW will be onshore wind and 16.5 GW will be offshore.
The country with the highest wind capacity in 2022 will still be Germany. It will reach 73 GW of wind generation by that year, although its share of new installations will decline to 24% from an average 40% in the last five years. Germany will be followed by Spain with 30 GW and the UK with 26 GW of wind farms. According to WindEurope, Spain and Sweden are set for strong growth and record years in 2019. The same is expected for the Benelux, Norway, Turkey and France.
The industry group also said that 22 GW of installed capacity will be more than 20 years old by 2022. While some of it will be replaced with new turbines, 4.3 GW to 6.4 GW are expected to be fully decommissioned in the next five years.
Despite the solid growth expected by 2022, WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson said that the outlook for new investment decisions over the next five years is less clear as most governments still lack plans for new wind farms up to 2030. He also pointed to problems in certain countries that need to be resolved. "Germany messed up its first onshore wind auctions last year so it will build much less wind in the next year or two, leading to job losses. And France has a short-term problem around who can award permits, so there’ll be a dip in growth there too," he said.
According to Dickson, the National Energy and Climate Plans for 2030 that will set out countries' ambitions for new renewables will be of key importance.
According to previous data, in 2018, WindEurope expects 13.5 GW of new capacity additions in the wind sector, of which 3.3 GW offshore and 10.2 GW onshore installations.