Wind power capacity in Europe is predicted to grow by an average of 9 GW a year through to 2015, accounting for around 40% of annual global wind capacity additions, according to a market study by Emerging Energy Research (EER). From Europe's current base of 48,452 MW of wind power plant this will take wind capacity to 130,816 MW by end 2015. Spain will remain Europe's largest growing market, says EER, which tracks emerging technologies in global energy markets. Spain and Germany will account for 50% of the European wind market in 2015, but after that their share will reduce as other western European markets scale up and project flow and size increase in countries of eastern Europe. "European wind power markets are evolving at three speeds," says EER's Catalina Robledo. Large western European countries Spain and Germany are entering a consolidation phase with 1500-2000 MW added each year; mid-size southern and northern markets are picking up momentum with between 200 MW and 1000 MW a year; and emerging eastern European markets are laying the foundation for wind development with 50-200 MW a year, she says. Europe's electric utilities, as opportunities for growth slow down in their home markets, are moving to scaling markets where they can amass large pipelines of projects and growth markets where they can nab the best sites, finds EER. Mergers and acquisitions in the industry will increase. With the resources to absorb big acquisitions, utilities will lead the sector, leaving smaller independent power producers struggling to grow as they face increasing competition for sites, grid access, capital and turbines, says Robledo. The offshore market, meantime, will step up a gear in 2009 passing 1 GW of new capacity a year. Offshore wind capacity will grow to 10.4 GW in 2015 representing 8% of total European wind capacity.
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