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Wind is number one for growth in Europe

EUROPE: More wind power capacity was installed in the EU in 2009 than any other electricity-generating technology, says the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). It says the industry showed little sign of being affected by the economic downturn and forecasts a similar success story for 2010.

EWEA says 39% of all new capacity installed in 2009 was wind power, followed by gas at 26% and solar photovoltaics at 16%. "This is a remarkable result in a difficult year," says Christian Kjaer, EWEA chief executive. He says the growth in wind power in 2009 means that around 6,000 turbines - or 23 each working day - were put up in the EU, allowing the industry last year to supply 4.8% of EU electricity demand, based on 2007 figures. Kjaer estimates wind supplied at least 5% of demand in 2009, given that sources indicate overall power demand decreased in the EU last year because of the economic crisis.

Despite that economic crisis, investment in EU wind farms in 2009 reached a considerable EUR13 billion - EUR11.5 billion in onshore and EUR1.5 billion in offshore projects. Kjaer admits that for 2010 project finance is still tight and adds that more orders must be announced for the sector to repeat the 10GW installed this year. He says that banks remain reluctant to enter into syndicated loans for very large offshore wind farms and that there are still issues with liquidity for smaller projects. He is confident the situation is improving, however, and notes that EU institutional banks and national institutions are stepping in.

For a more in-depth look at the European wind market, see our market status special

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