by Jeremy Hodges, Bloomberg
Europe’s installed wind power capacity is seen ballooning to 258 gigawatts, or about a quarter of the world’s entire output, within five years.
European wind project developers will install an average of 17 gigawatts of capacity, or the equivalent of 17 nuclear reactors, annually for the next half decade, lobby group Wind Europe said in its Outlook to 2022 report. Beyond that date, uncertainty over governments’ energy policy and a lack of ambition may hinder further progress toward 2030.
European nations have been leading the world in wind installations thanks to favorable policies to attract investment and subsidized auction processes. The success in driving down costs for producing renewable energy pushed some countries to start awarding subsidy-free contracts at auction.
Although several subsidy-free projects have been given the go-ahead, they’re not yet the norm. Since April 2017, Europe has had six zero-subsidy bids in offshore wind in the Netherlands and Germany.
France awarded 118 megawatts of wind generation capacity in its second auction of onshore projects last week, less than a quarter of what it planned to get built. That’s a sign of potential issues for wind investors in a country that has made significant commitments to green energy and the climate.
Germany, Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands will account for 62 percent of gross capacity additions, the trade association said. The U.K. installed 81 percent of Europe’s new offshore capacity in the first half of the year after adding five new farms.