Industry body WindEurope has published a report predicting that the European wind sector will see ‘solid growth’ over the next five years, increasing to a total capacity of 258GW.
The report, titled ‘Wind Energy Outlook in Europe’, says wind capacity on the continent will grow at an average of 17.4GW each year, making its predicted 2022 total installed capacity 258GW – equating to a quarter of global new capacity additions by 2022.
Most of the installations are expected in the onshore sector at 70.4GW (81%), compared to 16.5GW (19%) of new offshore wind.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “Wind energy is on track for solid further expansion in Europe over the next five years. But this growth comes mostly from yesterday’s decisions.
“The outlook for new investment decisions over the next five years is less clear. Most governments still haven’t clarified their plans for new wind farms up to 2030.”
Dickson added that the European Union-mandated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) will be ‘crucial’ in how governments auction renewable projects. These plans offer a framework for Member States to establish their climate and energy objectives, targets, policies and measures through to 2030.
Larger wind turbines were predicted to help drive growth, with onshore turbines of at least 4MW and offshore turbines of at least 8MW becoming the norm.
Germany will remain the leader in wind energy, set to house 73GW of energy capacity in 2022, according to the report. Shares of new installations are, however, expected to drop in the country to 24%, down from its current average of 40% due to strong competition from other nations.
Spain and the UK will be second and third in terms of contribution to the national capacity, at 30GW and 26GW by 2022, respectively. They are followed by the Benelux nations, Norway, Turkey and France.
Europe is already known for its ambitious wind energy projects, the most recent example being the opening last week of the 659MW Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea. It is currently the largest operational offshore wind farm in the world, capable of providing power to almost 600,000 homes in the UK.
According to research and data group Windpower Intelligence, onshore wind currently accounts for 90.7% (160.2GW) of Europe’s total installed capacity of 176.5GW.