Europe first-half additions increase to 4.9GW

Wind power installation increased in Europe in the first half of the year, but current rates are not enough to meet EU renewable energy targets, WindEurope has warned.

WindEurope warned current installation rates are not enough to meet the EU's renewable energy target of 32% by 2030
WindEurope warned current installation rates are not enough to meet the EU's renewable energy target of 32% by 2030

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Europe installed 4.9GW of new wind capacity in the first half of 2019 — up from 4.5GW in the same period in 2018 — according to figures from WindEurope.

Onshore, 2,967MW was added between 1 January and 30 June, while 1,927MW was installed offshore.

The onshore tally was down from 3.3GW a earlier, with "serious issues" in Germany holding back development, WindEurope’s chief policy officer Pierre Tardieu explained.

Meanwhile, the offshore total was up from 1.1GW in the same period in 2018.

Despite the overall increase in new wind power capacity in the first half of 2019, the current rate of installations will not be enough to meet the EU’s renewable energy target of 32% by 2030 or a discussed net-zero emissions goal by mid-century, Tardieu warned.

Onshore

France (523MW), Sweden (459MW) and Germany (287MW) installed the most onshore capacity in the first half of 2019, according to WindEurope figures.

Germany’s 287MW was the country’s lowest first-half additions since 2000, the industry body noted.

This was down to "serious issues" such as permitting challenges, with 11GW of projects currently backlogged, and so-called ‘community projects’ awarded at auction not being built, Tardieu added.

WindEurope expects German installations to pick up in the second half of the year, but its full-year additions will still be "lower than historical levels".

It also expects onshore activity to pick up in the second half of the year in Sweden and Norway — which failed to install any new capacity in the first six months of 2019.

Large volumes of new capacity are also expected in Spain (148MW installed in H1 2019) after 4.1GW was auctioned in 2017 and 2018.

Offshore

Meanwhile, the UK (931MW), Denmark (374MW), Belgium (370MW) and Germany (252MW), accounted for the 1,927MW of offshore capacity installed in the first half of the year.

The UK’s additions include part of the 1.2GW Hornsea One project, which, when completed, will be the world’s largest wind farm.

Investment

Europe invested €8.8 billion in the construction of future wind farms in the first half of 2019, WindEurope found.

Onshore wind accounted for €6.4 billion of this investment total, with offshore wind accounting for the €2.4 billion remainder.

These investments will lead to 5.9GW being installed and connected to the grid in the next "two to three years", WindEurope added.

The highest total investments were made in France and Netherlands, the industry body stated.

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