2021 will be a record year in wind installations
Wind energy continues to drive the energy revolution. In the year 2020, 16% of European electricity consumption came from wind energy, and capacity is expanding every year. The last WindEurope's report shows the resilience of the sector in a challenging year, but also the need for rapid expansion to reach carbon neutrality in Europe.
2021 is expected to see a record year in Offshore installations, with 3.7GW set to be installed over the course of the year. More than half will take place in the UK, with 2 GW, and the rest will be completed in the Netherlands, Denmark, and France.
Sweden could become the largest market for new installations in 2021 with 2.9 GW. Germany could be the third largest market in 2021 with 2 GW of installations, all of it coming from onshore wind. In France, the majority of installations could come from onshore wind with 1.5 GW.
Europe is expected to build 105 GW new wind farms over the next 5 years, over 70% of which will be onshore. This outlook –based on Governments commitments- is ambitious but still not sufficient to deliver on the Green Deal targets and on the target of climate neutrality.
To reach those targets Governments need to take immediate action. The short-term reaction should be the base for long-term achievements. In this sense, the figures show the importance of simplifying permitting rules and procedures to facilitate the development of new wind projects. According to data coming from WindEurope right now, the process to get new permissions is lengthy and developers are deterred from pursuing new projects because of the risks and costs involved. Another important issue to address is the ageing of wind farms. In Europe, in the next five years, 38 GW of wind farms will reach 20 years of operation and a decision will be required on their future: repowering, life-time extension or full decommissioning.
The UK will be Europe’s largest wind market due to strong offshore figures over the next five years, with 15 GW of new installations expected . Netherlands will also see large offshore installations with 4.4 GW, followed by Germany and France, both of which are expected to install 3GW of offshore wind energy. Denmark will install 1.9 GW and Poland 0.7 GW. Norway, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden will see more than 100 MW of offshore installations completed over the next five years.
Germany could continue leading in onshore installations with 13 GW set to be installed over the next five years. This will be followed by France with 8.8 GW, Sweden with 7 GW, Spain with 5.7 GW and Poland with 5 GW.
Reaching the targets set for 2050 is both a major challenge for European Governments and a great opportunity for the wind energy sector. Momentum to unlock the full potential of wind is essential now.