Wind farm developers in the European Union (EU) added a total of 15 GW in capacity last year, or a third more than in 2021, despite problems in the supply chain. However, the figure still falls short of what is needed to put Europe on track to achieving its climate and energy security targets, and this is mainly due to permitting issues, according to WindEurope.
Although the 15 GW of new wind installations in 2022 will help strengthen the EU’s energy security ahead of next winter, the bloc still needs to simplify permitting and invest heavily in the supply chain in order to deliver on the energy and climate targets, warns Wind Europe, which gathers 400 members from across the whole value chain of wind energy.
80 GW of wind energy projects are currently stuck in permitting procedures across Europe
“Some 80 GW of wind energy projects are currently stuck in permitting procedures across Europe. They must be unlocked as fast as possible,” WindEurope said. On the bright side, however, the measures from the REPowerEU plan in permitting will help, and some EU countries are already taking steps nationally to improve things, according to the organization.
The EU must become attractive to renewables investors again
The EU’s new electricity market rules, due to be unveiled in March, must make Europe more attractive again to investors in renewables and avert their migration to the United States, Australia and elsewhere, according to WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson. “Confusion about electricity market rules is turning investors away,” he warned.
At the same time, WindEurope notes, demand for wind energy among industrial consumers in Europe has never been higher.
The EU needs to stimulate repowering old wind farms since it triples output with 25% fewer turbines
In terms of new wind capacity installed in 2022, Germany, Sweden and Finland led the way, followed by Spain and France, with onshore wind accounting for 90% of the new installations.
However, almost all the new onshore wind farms were built in new greenfield sites, and not many old farms were repowered, even though repowering triples the output of a wind farm with 25% fewer turbines, WindEurope noted. According to Dickson, the EU governments need to incentivize the repowering of older onshore wind farms.
Dickson: A key year for offshore wind auctions
Dickson also noted that this will be a key year for offshore wind auctions: big ones are due in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, while Ireland and Norway, and possibly Spain and Portugal, will hold their first-ever offshore auctions and France is expected to complete its first auction for a large floating wind farm.