Europe installed a total of 4.9 gigawatts (GW) of new wind energy capacity across the first half of 2019, including a total of 1,927 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind energy, according to new figures published last week by the region’s wind energy trade body, WindEurope.
Increasing by 8% over the same period a year ago, the newly-installed 4.9 GW of wind capacity was made up of 2.9 GW of onshore wind, which is down 12% on the same period a year ago, due in large part to poor installation figures in Germany, normally one of the region’s powerhouse wind energy producers. However, the total figure was bolstered by increased offshore installations which grew by 73% over the same period a year earlier, which saw only 1.1 GW installed.
Regionally, Germany saw its worst first half of the year for wind energy capacity additions since the year 2000, and though the German industry expects things to pick up slightly in the second half of 2019, predictions still see Germany experiencing below-average connected volume for 2019. As can be seen in the table below, France led the way with 523 MW of new wind capacity, followed by Sweden with 459 GW and Germany barely eking into third place with 287 MW, a single megawatt ahead of Italy and only 5 MW ahead of Ukraine.
With a relatively average start to the year, WindEurope nevertheless expects the traditionally stronger second half of 2019 to boost total capacity additions by year’s end. This tendency for a stronger second half of the year is specifically pronounced in Nordic countries where installation activity is, unsurprisingly, strongest in Summer months.
Further, turbine orders and market activities suggest that “significant volumes” of new wind energy capacity will be connected to the grid in Sweden and Norway, while large volumes are also expected to be installed in Spain on the back of the 4.1 GW of capacity auctioned in 2017 and 2018.
“It was a good start to the year for offshore wind growth. But onshore wind installations were poor these past 6 months,” WindEurope Chief Policy Officer Pierre Tardieu said. “Germany had the lowest first half of the year for new onshore wind installations since 2000. Permitting challenges remain the key bottleneck: 11 GW of onshore wind are stuck in the permitting process in Germany. And the transition to auctions, where so-called ‘community projects’ were allowed to bid in auctions without a permit back in 2017, has been messy. Many of these projects still need to be built.
“With France, which had a good first 6 months, Spain, Norway and Sweden will now have to help pick up the slack in the second half of the year.“
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