Countries in Europe are “too dependent” on the UK when it comes to installations of new offshore wind capacity.
That’s the view of industry body WindEurope, which says Britain is “striding ahead” in current installations – it installed 911MW out of a total 1.1GW of offshore wind projects in the first half of 2018.
It has also committed to future volumes as the government recently confirmed auctions for offshore wind and remote island projects, pledging £557 million for developers.
WindEurope says in contrast, the rate of new installations has slowed down in Germany and other countries “also need to beef up and speed up their plans” on offshore wind.
The UK was followed by Belgium (175MW) and Denmark (28MW) in offshore wind installations in the first six months of the year.
A total of 4.5GW of wind energy capacity was added in Europe this year, a fall from the same period last year, when capacity stood at 6.1GW, however, the figure is “in line with expectations”.
Onshore wind made up 3.3GW of new additions in the first half of this year, driven by Germany (1.6GW), France (605MW) and Denmark (202MW).
WindEurope expects to see 3.3GW of new offshore wind and 10.2GW of new onshore wind to be added this year.
While the region is on track for a “solid year” in new wind farm installations, the industry body says the growth is driven by just a handful of markets and the figures “mask some worrying trends”.
It states while France has installed a lot of new onshore wind this year, it hasn’t issued any new permit for onshore wind in the last eight months due to an administrative issue, which resulted in its latest auction being under-subscribed.
It adds German developers need a permit to bid into onshore auctions but suggests the rule needs to made permanent. In addition, it says there is no clarity yet on when the 4GW new onshore wind promised for 2019/20 is going to be auctioned.
WindEurope suggests like all member states, Germany needs to give five years’ visibility on future auction timetables and volumes – under the terms of the new Renewables Directive.
Pierre Tardieu, Chief Policy officer at WindEurope said: “This visibility is key to the supply chain and to keep wind energy jobs and growth in Europe. Investments in manufacturing, skills and R&D only happen when governments give long term visibility to the supply chain. This clarity helps them to make new investment decisions and bring down costs. Addressing these issues will be key to enable Europe to meet its target of 32% renewable energy by 2030 cost effectively.”