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There is significant uncertainty over how much wind energy capacity will grow in Europe over the next five years, according to WindEurope’s new ‘Wind Energy Outlook to 2023’ If Governments end up producing clear and ambitious National Energy & Climate Plans (NECPs) and they improve the permitting arrangements for wind farms and they keep investing in new grid capacity, then Europe’s wind energy capacity would grow by 88 GW to 277 GW by 2023. But that’s a big if.
Alternatively, if the NECPs are unambitious and permitting issues persist, then Europe will install much less new wind power: only 67 GW. Permitting issues are already leading to undersubscribed auctions (notably in Germany) and lower installation rates than expected.
Conversely, if permitting improves significantly and the NECPs are super ambitious, then Europe could install 112 GW over the next five years.
So the annual volumes of new wind capacity up to 2023 could be anything between 13 and 22 GW. This uncertainty weighs heavily on the supply chain and could impact the significant cost reductions achieved in recent years.
Under all the scenarios over three-quarters of the new installations will be onshore wind. Spain, Sweden and Norway are currently leading the growth in onshore wind. Germany is installing much less this year than it traditionally has, and its outlook remains uncertain for the rest of the period, not least given recent policy decisions. WindEurope expects France to show continued steady growth in onshore wind.
The UK will account for 35% of the growth in offshore wind over the next five years, followed by the Netherlands and Germany.
In the next five years 22 GW of wind energy capacity will reach the end of its normal operational life (20 years). Most of this will get a lifetime extension. Around 2 GW will be repowered. And another 2 GW will be fully decommissioned. Government policy and regulation is still not as supportive of repowering as it should be.
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