WindEurope warns of slow wind expansion as Europe adds 17.4 GW in 2021

Wind Turbines. Author: Lance Cheung. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

February 24 (Renewables Now) - Europe has installed 17.4 GW of wind in 2021, up 18% from 2020, to exceed the previous record of 17.1 GW in 2017, WindEurope’s annual statistics showed today.

The wind industry body, however, warned that the rate of adding wind capacity is too slow and undermines the Green Deal.

The EU installed only 11 GW of new wind capacity last year and is expected to build 18 GW a year over the 2022-2026 period, while it needs 30 GW a year to reach its 40% renewable energy target for 2030, WindEurope says.

The insufficient wind installations are also hurting Europe’s wind energy supply chain. Faced also with higher commodities prices and disrupted international supply chains, four out of Europe’s five wind turbine manufacturers were operating at a loss in 2021, the industry group said. According to it, the main problem is permitting.

WindEurope has written to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to alert of the “poor health” of the sector. It also pointed out that renewables improve energy security, whose importance has been highlighted by the current geopolitical crisis.

“The European wind industry is losing money, closing factories and shedding jobs – just when it should be growing to meet the huge expansion of wind power Europe wants,” said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.

“The solutions are there: simplify permitting, boost innovation and ensure Governments recognise and reward the value the European industry brings to society, the environment and the energy transition," Dickson also said.

The 2021 wind installations took Europe’s total installed capacity to 236 GW. Of the 17.4 GW new capacity, 3.4 GW was offshore and 14 GW onshore.

The countries that installed most wind farms were the UK (2.6 GW), Sweden (2.1 GW), Germany (1.9 GW), Turkey (1.4 GW) and the Netherlands (1.3 GW). Sweden led onshore installations with 2.1 GW, and the UK offshore deployments with 2.3 GW.

Onshore wind will continue to account for three quarters of the new installations in the 2022-2026 period, according to the report. Germany is expected to install the highest new wind capacity in this period, followed by the UK, France, Spain and Sweden.

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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