RENEWABLES FOR EUROPE +14.7 GW
RN - March 2 - Europe’s wind power capacity grew by 14.7 GW in 2020, 19% less than what was expected before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, WindEurope said last week.
The Netherlands added the most capacity -- 2 GW -- mainly thanks to offshore wind projects. Germany ranked second with 1.65 GW, its lowest annual figure in a decade. Norway, Spain and France rounded out the top five.
The EU’s 27 member states together built 10.5 GW of new wind in 2020. Onshore wind accounted for 80% of all installations on the continent.
Europe is seen to install 105 GW of new wind over the next five years, adding to the 220 GW it has now. WindEurope says this is far from enough to deliver the Green Deal and climate neutrality. The industry body calculates that the EU needs to be installing 18 GW of wind per year in 2021-2030 to deliver its existing 2030 renewables target, and 27 GW per year for the higher 55% climate target.
Mainly due to slow and complex permitting, the annual expansion is too slow.
“Permitting rules and procedures are too complex. There are not enough people working in the permitting authorities to process permit applications. Governments have to address this. Otherwise the Green Deal is at risk,” said Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO.
There is another challenge. In the next five years, 38 GW of wind farms in Europe will reach 20 years of operation. These will have to be repowered, decommissioned or go through life-time extension upgrades. WindEurope gave Austria as an example for a country which closed 2020 with less operational wind farms than at the start of the year because of obstacles to repowering.
Europe decommissioned 388 MW of wind in 2020.