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The EU installed 15 GW of new wind farms in 2022 according to preliminary wind energy installation figures published by WindEurope. That’s a third more than 2021.
In terms of new capacity installed Germany, Sweden and Finland are leading the way, followed by Spain and France. 90% of the new wind capacity was onshore wind. And nearly all the new onshore wind farms were in new greenfield sites. There was not much repowering of older wind farms. WindEurope will publish the full annual statistics and its 5-year outlook in March.
Progress on permitting
15 GW still falls significantly short of what Europe needs to build to deliver on its climate and energy security targets. The shortfall is largely due to permitting bottlenecks. 80 GW of wind energy projects are currently stuck in permitting procedures across Europe. They must be unlocked as fast as possible. The REPowerEU measures on permitting will help. And some Governments are already taking steps nationally to improve things.
New investments down
A combination of inflation and unhelpful Government interventions in electricity markets is undermining investments in new wind farms. In the first 11 months of 2022 the total new investments in wind farms in the EU covered only 12 GW of new capacity.
The EU’s forthcoming reform of electricity markets must give investors greater clarity about what rules apply. The freedom given to Member States in last year’s emergency measures to set their own national rules is turning investors away. They’re investing instead in the US, Australia and elsewhere. The EU is not attractive for major renewables investors right now.
Challenges for the wind energy supply chain
2022 was a difficult year for the wind energy supply chain. Inflation hit Europe’s turbine manufacturers and suppliers hard. They now face a range of overlapping challenges: inflation in key inputs and commodities, dysfunctional trade flows and bottlenecks in the sourcing of some materials and components plus poor auction design in some countries.
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