Wind Wire: Narrow rise

European developers are set to install a total 8.6 GW of new wind capacity in 2009, even despite difficulties in securing project finance amid the global credit crunch, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

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The new build is 1% more than the 8.5 GW added in 2008. It will lift total installed capacity in the 27 EU countries to 73.5 GW. The biggest growth rate occurs in the newer EU states. The 12 emerging markets are on track to install 150 MW more than in 2008, a 35% increase in capacity. Meantime, the EU-15 are expected to install a similar amount of wind this year as last. Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA, says he is "pleasantly surprised" by the results of the research - particularly in a year when most industries have been affected by the global financial downturn and when electricity demand is declining. It shows that demand for wind energy is strong enough to make up for project delays caused by banks' reluctance to provide finance, he says. But he warns: "Although the outlook for 2009 is encouraging, the real test of the wind energy sector's ability to withstand the financial crisis will be 2010." EWEA expects the financial crisis to have a deeper impact next year unless measures are taken rapidly to increase liquidity in the financial market. It calls on governments to ensure the billions of euros provided to European banks in stimulus packages reach the real economy.

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