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Uncertainty weighs heavily on WindEurope's 5-year outlook

WindEurope outlook 2023

October 8 (Renewables Now) - Annual wind energy installations in Europe could range from 13.3 GW to 22.4 GW in the period 2019-2023, depending on how governments develop their regulatory frameworks and national policies.

The wide range forecast comes from industry association WindEurope  which outlines three different scenarios: Low, Central and High in its “Wind Energy Outlook to 2023” report.

The wind industry body notes that Europe, optimistically, could reach a cumulative installed wind power capacity of 299 GW at the end of the five-year period, but only if it resolves current permitting issues, while the existing project pipeline is built entirely. Governments will need to adopt clear and ambitious National Energy & Climate Plans to achieve that figure. If they propose no positive improvements from current legislation, cumulative installed capacity can only reach 254 GW with only 67 GW new additions over five years.

The Central Scenario is what WindEurope believes is providing the best estimate of the installed capacity in Europe in the period in question. Under it, the countries will add about 88 GW of net capacity for a cumulative 277 GW at the end of the period. This scenario reflects the impact of the 2020 targets, the existence of longer-term national targets and the calendar for auctions, while also assuming that all existing offshore wind projects are finalised according to current plans.

The table below shows the gross annual and cumulative installations in Europe in 2019-2023, based on WindEurope’s Central Scenario.

  2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Offshore 3.4 GW 2.5 GW 2.8 GW 3.2 GW 6.3 GW
Onshore 13.4 GW 15.2 GW 14.2 GW 14.7 GW 14.5 GW
Cumulative 207 GW 223 GW 240 GW 257 GW 277 GW

Total onshore installations in 2019-2023 are expected to amount to 72 GW under that scenario. Germany is seen leading with 11.2 GW of gross additions, followed by Spain with 8.7 GW, France with 8.1 GW and Sweden with 7.5 GW. As per offshore wind, the five-year total is expected at 18.2 GW, with 35% of all installations, or 6.4 GW, taking place off the UK coast. The other five nations in offshore wind listed by WindEurope are the Netherlands (4 GW), Germany (2.9 GW), Denmark (1.7 GW), France (1.3 GW) and Belgium (1.1 GW).

WindEurope's CEO Giles Dickson pointed out that there is real uncertainty as to how far the wind energy market will expand over the five-year period.

"It’s getting harder to secure permits for new wind farms in many countries. The grids and energy markets are still not functioning as they should. And many Governments simply haven’t decided yet how much new wind they want and when and how they’re going to build it," he said.

Dickson stressed that if the 2030 national plans are not ambitious, Europe will fail to meet even the 32% renewables target.

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Ivan is the mergers and acquisitions expert in Renewables Now with a passion for big deals and ambitious capacity plans.

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