The Bishopthorpe wind farm in Lincolnshire. Source: BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH
Total of EUR 51.2 billion (USD 41.4bn) have been spent in Europe on wind power in 2017 for a 9% year-on-year increase and investment volumes are seen to rise further this year, according to a report by WindEurope.
The wind industry body considers the investment outlook to be strong up to 2020. There is a lack of visibility, however, on new projects planned for the next decade, chief policy officer Pierre Tardieu notes.
It is evident from the statistics in the report that wind costs are falling because even though the investment in new wind parks declined to EUR 22.3 billion from EUR 28 billion, it still covered more capacity -- 11.5 GW compared to 10.3 GW.
“This is largely due to increased competition in auctions and technology advances that are driving cost reductions in the supply chain,” Tardieu commented.
In addition to EUR 22.3 billion of new asset financing, a further EUR 9.1 billion were spent on project acquisitions last year, EUR 5.3 billion on company acquisitions, EUR 7.6 billion in capital markets and EUR 6.9 billion on refinancing transactions. Both project and company acquisitions more than doubled in total value last year.
With a 30% share of the total, Germany ended the year as the biggest wind investor, having generated EUR 6.7 billion in financing activity for the construction of new onshore and offshore wind parks. The UK held the second position with EUR 5 billion, equal to a 22% share.
Overall, Northern and Western Europe were responsible for the majority of new wind investments.
Over the past year and up till the end of March 2018, more than 14 GW of capacity was awarded support, mostly concerning onshore wind projects. This includes 5.3 GW in Germany, 4.1 GW in Spain, 3.2 GW in the UK, 1.4 GW in the Netherlands and 500 MW in France. Four countries, namely Germany, France, the Netherlands and Turkey, plan to auction more than 17 GW in total by the end of the decade. The majority is expected to be auctioned this year already.