According to a recent report by European Wind Energy Association WindEurope, 17.4 GW of new wind energy capacity will be installed across Europe in 2021, bringing the total installed capacity to 236 GW (offshore and onshore). In the EU-27, 11 GW have been installed. Europe is only building half the wind power capacity needed to meet the European Green Deal targets, according to the industry organization.
According to WindEurope’s annual statistics for 2021, new wind farms have arrived in the EU with a total capacity of 11 GW. Across Europe, 17.4 GW of new wind power capacity will be installed in 2021, bringing the total installed capacity to 236 GW. By 2022-26, it should be building 18 GW per year. To meet the 2030 RES target, the EU needs 30 GW of new wind farms installed annually.
19 percent of new capacity in 2021 were offshore power plants, 81 percent – onshore wind turbines The countries that built the most new wind farms last year were the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Turkey, and the Netherlands. Sweden has built the most onshore wind turbines and the United Kingdom the most offshore wind farms.
It may be better in future years
Between 2022 and 2026, an estimated 18 GW per year of new wind farms will be built in the EU. This is better than in 2021, but still well below the level the EU needs to reach to meet the 40% RES target in 2030. Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, notes that the EU needs to build 30 GW of new wind farms per year to reach the 40% target.
“Fragile state” of the European wind industry
In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, WindEurope points to the “fragile state” of the European wind energy industry. Europe is not building enough new wind power to meet its energy and climate goals. The low volume of projects covered by permits affects European wind turbine manufacturers and the broader supply chain. The industry must also contend with higher prices for steel and other raw materials and disruptions in international supply chains. By 2021, four out of five European wind turbine manufacturers were experiencing losses (!). The European wind industry is losing money, closing factories, and shedding jobs – just when it should be expanding to meet the massive expansion of wind power
– The EU built just 11 GW last year and plans to build just 18 GW per year over the next five years. Such low investment undermines the Green Deal. It is also damaging the European wind energy supply chain, comments Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope.
The EU has ambitious goals, but is less successful in achieving them. The main bottleneck remains the permitting process, which has been talked about for several years. In Europe, permits are not being issued for the amount of new wind farms that are needed. Almost no member states are meeting the permitting deadlines required by the EU RES directive. According to WindEurope, the rules and procedures for issuing permits are too complicated. In addition, licensing authorities do not always have adequate staffing
WindEurope explains that even before the current geopolitical crisis, it was clear that Europe must rapidly increase its use of RES. High energy prices over the past year only strengthen this need. They reveal the dangers of Europe importing 58 percent of energy and being particularly dependent on imports of expensive fossil fuels – often from unreliable sources. They show that European industry and businesses urgently need more “made in Europe” renewable energy.